• Symptoms of a Heart Attack - Cardiovascular Health Center for Women

    Symptoms of heart attacks can be very subtle. While some heart attacks are sudden and intense (think of the typical movie heart attack), most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Unfortunately, women are less likely than men to think they are having a heart attack. It's true, however, that women account for half of all heart attack victims. It's important that you know and can recognize the classic heart attack symptoms, as well as the symptoms that are more common in women.

    Heart Attack Symptoms:  

    • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
    • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
    • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
    • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

    As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort but women are also more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

    Even if you're not sure you're having a heart attack, have your symptoms evaluated. Fast action saves lives. Don't wait more than five minutes to call 911 if you suspect you are having a heart attack.  

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