Heart attack symptoms can be different for women

Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States, but do you know which signs to watch for?

Many are familiar with chest pain as a tell-tale sign of a heart attack, but women are less likely to feel that chest pressure when having a heart attack, according to the American Heart Association.

“When a woman is suffering a heart attack that doesn’t present itself with chest pain, they’re not quite sure what they’re experiencing,” says Dr. Matthew Schmidt, a cardiologist at Aurora BayCare Medical Center in Green Bay, WI.

Heart attack symptoms may vary from person to person. Though chest pain is a key indicator of a heart attack, the lack thereof should not rule it out.

Dr. Schmidt shares some of the surprising symptoms women may experience during a heart attack:

  • Pain in the top of the belly
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain in the arms and/or hands
  • Back/neck pain
  • Indigestion
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Shortness of breath
  • Lightheadedness
  • Sudden dizziness

Of these symptoms, the most common among women include:  Jaw pain, back pain, nausea, vomiting, and shortness of breath.

“When you have any sort of unexplained symptoms, the safest thing to do is visit a doctor,” says Dr. Schmidt. Knowing your risk and knowing your symptoms may be the key to preventing complications.

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