Women and Cardiovascular Disease
A Woman's Heart - Unique Features of Cardiovascular Disease in Women

Women and Cardiovascular Disease
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Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Differences in the Presentation of a Heart Attack
Knowing and acting on the heart-attack symptoms in women and men can mean the difference between life and death. Many women do not recognize the atypical symptoms of a heart attack that often are present in women, or they disregard them as symptoms of other non-life-threatening conditions. While both sexes may have the typical pain, pressure, or discomfort in the chest, women tend to experience these less often than men, and women commonly present with symptoms other than chest pain.

Heart-attack Symptoms in Women
The most common symptoms of a heart attack are-common in both women and men:1

  • Discomfort or pain in the chest
  • Discomfort or pain in the left shoulder, arms, elbows, back, or jaw


Other symptoms of heart attack that are often more common in women than in men include:2,3

  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Cold sweats
  • Loss of appetite/heartburn
  • Weakness or unusual/unexplained fatigue
  • Heart flutters
  • Cough

1. World Health Organization website [Internet]. [cited 2012 Nov 12] Available from: http://www.who.int/mediacentre/factsheets/fs317/en/index.html

2. Website [Internet]. [cited 2012 Nov 27] Available from: http://womenshealth.gov/heartattack/symptoms.cfm?q=know-the-symptoms

3. Website [Internet]. [cited 2012 Nov 27] Available from: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack /Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp