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Comparing Heart Attack Symptoms in Men and Women

Last updated 3 years ago

Too often, people think of heart attacks as something that happens primarily to men. In reality, women are just as likely to suffer a heart attack, and because their symptoms may be different than those seen in men, women often wait longer to seek care and may be diagnosed later. Male or female, if you experience any symptoms of a heart attack, it is essential to seek emergency care right away. Early treatment saves heart tissue and lives. Here’s a look at some of the differences in heart attack symptoms between genders.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Men

Men are more likely than women to experience the well-known symptoms of a heart attack, including sudden, crushing chest pain. Chest pressure and pain are very common among men having heart attacks, as is pain in one or both arms, the shoulders, and the neck. Men may also experience shortness of breath, but this is less common than in women.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

For women, heart attack symptoms are often more subtle. Although chest pain and pressure are common, it may be not be the kind of crushing pain that men often experience. Instead, women often have squeezing pain in the chest and upper back that is sometimes described as being tied tightly with a rope. Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms like extreme fatigue, nausea, and lightheadedness. The symptoms of heart attacks in women can sometimes be easy to miss, as they can mimic the flu, acid reflux, stress, or fatigue from a busy schedule.

What to Do When You Have Symptoms

If you experience the symptoms of a heart attack, get emergency care right away. Don’t wait for your symptoms to get worse or second-guess what they could be. It’s better to go to the emergency room and learn you’re not having a heart attack than to let a heart attack progress without urgent medical care.

Palms of Pasadena Hospital has the heart care services you need in our emergency room and our in-patient cardiac department. We’re the closest emergency room to St. Pete Beach and have all of the imaging and lab capabilities to make a fast diagnosis. Learn more about our emergency room and heart care by calling (855) 245-8328. 


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