Yes, Women Have Heart Attacks Too (But The Symptoms Can Be Different)

You’re feeling sick to your stomach, dizzy, tired, and a bit breathless. You think you’re coming down with the flu. That’s one possibility.

But—if you’re a woman—did you know you might be having a heart attack?

And, if you’re like many women, you may misdiagnose these symptoms that are actually signs of heart attacks in females.

Women are 2x more likely to die of a heart attack because the symptoms can go undetected and can wait up to 37 minutes longer to call for help. Symptoms of heart attacks in women are unknown in the general public and are identified as anxiety in many cases.

Leveraging Hello Heart and tracking your blood pressure readings can be extremely useful to help diagnose exactly what is happening in your body so you can seek medical attention immediately.

Subtle Signs

The fact is, heart attacks in women cause different symptoms than they do in men. While men typically experience the classic chest-and-left-arm pain people usually associate with heart attacks, this isn’t true for women.

Symptoms of heart attack in women include:

  • Pain in the chest, back, neck, jaw, throat, or either arm
  • Sweating
  • Heartburn
  • Indigestion or vomiting
  • Stomach pain
  • Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach)
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness

Compare this to symptoms that apply to both men and women, and you can see the subtle but key differences:

  • Pain or discomfort in the chest
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Jaw, neck, stomach or back pain
  • Discomfort or pain in the arm or shoulder
  • Shortness of breath
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat

Mortal Mistake

Sadly, the failure to recognize female symptoms of heart attacks claims the lives of women every day. The American College of Cardiology reports that women wait 37 minutes longer to call for help than men. This delay doubles their mortality rate compared to males, who are more likely to get to the hospital faster.

Women may also fail to realize the likelihood of a heart attack. They may view heart attacks as a male issue, but the fact is, research by Harvard Health has revealed that heart disease is the number one cause of female deaths and is six times more likely to kill a woman than breast cancer.

Don’t Delay

Don’t miss the warning signs of female heart attacks. If you’re brushing off symptoms such as: stress, anxiety, or the flu, you may need to take action. Track your blood pressure readings and seek medical attention immediately. The right response to these signs could save your life.

 

1. “Women Don’t Get to Hospital Fast Enough During Heart Attack.” American College of Cardiology, 5 Mar. 2015, www.acc.org • 2. “Signs of a Heart Attack in Women.” Womenshealth.gov, Office on Women’s Health,14 Mar. 2019, www.womenshealth.gov • 3. “Warning Signs of a Heart Attack.” Warning Signs of a Heart Attack, American Heart Association , 2016, www.heart.org • 4. Elevated systolic blood pressure and risk of cardiovascular and renal disease: overview of evidence from observational epidemiologic studies and randomized controlled trials. He J1, Whelton PK. 1999, American Heart Journal, Average drop of BP was extrapolated to current results (https://www.acc.org/about-acc/press-releases/2015/03/05/16/33/women-dont-get-to-hospital-fast-enough-during-heart-attack average reduction of 12 to 13 mm Hg in systolic blood pressure over 4 years of follow-up is associated with a 21% reduction in coronary heart disease, 37% reduction in stroke, 25% reduction in total cardiovascular mortality • 5. https://www.cardiosmart.org/News-and-Events/2019/01/Women-Wait-Longer-to-Seek-Treatment-for-Heart-Attack-Study-Finds