Women’s heart attack symptoms

(baystatehealth)

Heart attacks in women often present differently than they do in men, leading to potential underdiagnosis and delayed treatment. While chest pain is a well-known symptom of a heart attack, many women do not experience this. Instead, they might have symptoms like a burning sensation, often mistaken for heartburn or even no discomfort at all. Subtle symptoms such as nausea, indigestion, shortness of breath, or extreme fatigue can also signal a heart attack in women.

This difference in symptoms can lead to misinterpretation by both women and their healthcare providers, sometimes attributing these signs to less serious conditions like gastrointestinal discomfort or stress. Women experiencing a heart attack might report sensations such as a hot or burning feeling, tenderness to touch, or pain in areas like the back, shoulders, arms, neck, upper abdomen, or jaw, rather than the classic chest pain.

Another concerning aspect is the occurrence of silent heart attacks, or silent myocardial infarction (SMI), in women. These are termed “silent” because their symptoms are so mild or brief that they might go unnoticed or be dismissed as minor issues like heartburn. There is a tendency for women to report their cardiac symptoms less frequently than men, which could lead to a failure to alert healthcare providers about critical symptoms, as per Mayo Clinic.

It is crucial for women to be aware of these varied symptoms and to promptly seek medical attention if they experience signs that could indicate a heart attack. These signs include unexplained shortness of breath, sudden severe nausea or indigestion, unexplained sweating, extreme fatigue, loss of consciousness, or a sudden feeling of doom.

Women should trust their instincts regarding their health and insist on receiving appropriate medical attention if they suspect a heart attack. If a healthcare provider dismisses these concerns, it may be necessary to seek a second opinion or find a new provider who takes these symptoms seriously. The key is for women to listen to their bodies and not downplay any new or unusual symptoms that could be related to heart health.

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