Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

Heart disease remains the #1 killer of women in the United States. Unfortunately, heart disease often goes unrecognized and untreated until the woman has a disabling or fatal heart attack. Women often have different symptoms than men do, and not all physicians know what to look for. Not all women know what to look for.

Prodromal Symptoms

Most women who have heart attacks experience ‘prodromal’ symptoms for a month or more before the incident. Prodromal symptoms predict the onset of a disease. If we recognize prodromal symptoms, sometimes we can prevent the heart attack that is about to happen.

Men are not as likely to have prodromal symptoms as women; 95% of women in a recent National Institutes of Health study had one or more of the following symptoms for a month or more before their heart attacks:

Severe fatigue

Severe sleep disturbances

Shortness of breath



Chest Discomfort

Only a third to a half of all women have chest discomfort when they have a heart attack. Those who do experience discomfort don’t usually describe it as pain, either. Women are more likely to say they have aching, pressure or tightness in their chests than they are to use the word, ‘pain.’

Heart Attack Symptoms

Women who are having a heart attack are more likely to experience one or more of the following symptoms than they are to have chest discomfort:

Sudden, severe shortness of breath

Sudden weakness

Sudden, severe fatigue

Breaking out in a cold sweat

Sudden dizziness.

Women do have different heart attack symptoms than men do, but heart disease is just as disabling and just as fatal to women as it is to men. Recognizing the symptoms women are most likely to experience with a heart attack could save your life.

About the Author: Keit Archer is a freelance writer who worked as a critical care nurse for over twenty years, specializing in cardiovascular nursing. This article was written for PillsPills.Net Pharmacy []