Updated: February 1, 2024
“Heart Disease is the leading cause of death and disability for women in the United States. Yet, somehow Heart Disease is often overlooked as a major women’s health issue. It is the cause of death for 1 in 5 women in the U.S., and heart disease and stroke combined cause the death of 1 in 3 women every year. That’s more than all cancers combined. But 80% of cardiac and stroke events can be prevented.” — Second Opinion with Joan Lunden
If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away. — American Heart Association
Heart Attack Symptoms in Men and Women
1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
“Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure,” said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYU’s Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. “Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.”
Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging. “They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first,” Goldberg said. “There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.” — American Heart Association
National Institutes of Health (NIH) – National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
The Heart Truth – Raising Awareness About Heart Disease as the Leading Cause of Death in Women
Video: Stories of the Heart – Watch Surprising Stories About Women—of All Ages and Ethnicities—Who Have Had Heart Attacks
National Wear Red Day ®: Get # Our Hearts Pumping
American Heart Month
American Heart Association
6 Things Every Woman Should Know About Heart Health
Hands-Only CPR Demo (YouTube video)
Getting a Beat on What Women Know About Heart Health: Video and Article – Food & Drug Administration (FDA)
Heart Health for Women – The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists
Risk Factors of Heart Disease in Women – Mayo Clinic
Cardiovascular Disease Is NOT Just a Man’s Disease – Cleveland Clinic
Heart Attacks Striking Younger Women – Johns Hopkins Medicine
Check it! Challenge Could Lead to Lower Risk of Heart Disease And Stroke: Central New York – Oswego County Today
Learn the Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attacks in Women – Women Heart
Take Action to Improve Heart Health! Blood Pressure Self-Monitoring – YMCA of Central New York
What is Cardiac Arrest? Here’s What to Know – New York-Presbyterian
CWNY’s Women’s Issues Think Tank: “Heart Disease in Women and Inequities in Women’s Health” with Giovina Lara Collura, M.D. (YouTube video) – Center for the Women of New York (CWNY)