Heart Attack Symptoms for Women and Men

According to the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. This is partly because many people don’t recognize the symptoms and delay getting the care they need. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of a possible heart attack can help save someone’s life, perhaps your own.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Men

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Cold sweat, nausea, or dizziness.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women

  • Firm pressure on the chest
  • Pain or uneasiness in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Severe shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Unusual or unexplainable fatigue
  • Unfamiliar dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Nausea or unexplained vomiting.

Not all warning signs occur with every attack, and sometimes the characters go away and come back. Time is of the essence for anyone feeling a potential heart attack, as 85 per cent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack.

How Symptoms Different in Men and Women?

Perspiration. Fatigue. Nausea. Jaw pain. These are not the classic symptoms, but they are how women often experience a heart attack. Also, women are at higher risk of dying from a heart attack because they often believe their first symptoms are stress-related or the result of acid reflux or the flu. And those early symptoms can occur days, weeks, or even months before the heart attack.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The American Heart Association recommends that you know the warning signs of a possible heart attack so you can take quick action:

  • Uncomfortable pain, pressure, fullness, or pressure in the chest.
  • Pain or discomfort in the shoulders, neck, arms, or jaw.
  • Dizziness, fainting, or sweating
  • Unusual stomach or abdominal pain
  • nausea or seas
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing.
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat, or paleness.

Heart Disease Risk Factors for Women and Men

Several traditional risk factors for coronary artery illness, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and obesity, affect both women and men. However, other factors may play a more significant role in the development of heart disease in women.

Risk factors for heart disease in women include the following:

Diabetes: Women with diabetes are additionally more likely to have heart disease than men with diabetes. Also, because diabetes can alter the way women feel pain, there is an increased risk of having a silent heart attack without symptoms.

Emotional stress and depression: Stress and depression touch women’s hearts more than men’s. Depression can make it challenging to maintain a healthy lifestyle and follow recommended treatment for other medical conditions.

Smoke: Smoking is a more excellent risk factor for heart disease in women than men.

Inactivity: Lack of physical activity is a significant risk factor for heart disease.

Menopause: Low estrogen levels after menopause increase the risk of developing diseases in the smallest blood vessels.

Complications in pregnancy: High blood pressure or diabetes can increase a mother’s long-term risk of high blood pressure and diabetes. These conditions also make women more prone to heart disease.

Causes Heart Attack Symptoms for Women and Men

A heart attack occurs when one or more coronary arteries become blocked. This condition, called coronary artery illness, causes most heart attacks. Over time, the accumulation of fatty deposits, including cholesterol, forms substances called plaques, which can narrow the arteries (atherosclerosis).

A plaque can rupture and leak cholesterol and other substances into the bloodstream during a heart attack—a blood clot forms at the site of the rupture. If the clot is large, it can block blood flow through the coronary artery, depriving the heart of oxygen and nutrients (ischemia).

  • You may have a full or partial blockage of the coronary artery.
  • Complete obstruction means you’ve had an ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI).
  • Partial obstruction means you’ve had a non-ST-segment elevation myocardial infarction (NSTEMI).

Risk factor Heart Attack for Women and MenHeart Attack

Certain factors contribute to the build-up of unwanted fatty deposits (atherosclerosis) that narrow arteries throughout the body. You can improve or eliminate several of these risk factors to lower your chances of having a first heart attack or other heart attacks.

Risk factors for a heart attack include the following:

Age: Men age 45 and older and women age 55 and older have a higher chance of having a heart attack than younger men and women.

Tobacco use: Smoking and long-term exposure to passive smoking are included.

High blood pressure: Over time, high blood pressure can damage the arteries leading to the heart. Its High blood pressure and other diseases, such as obesity, high cholesterol, or diabetes, further increase the risk.

High levels of cholesterol or triglycerides in the blood: A high level of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) is very likely to narrow the arteries. A high level of triglycerides, a kind of blood fat from the diet, also increases the risk of a heart attack. However, high high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) can lower your risk.

Obesity: Obesity is linked to high blood cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood pressure, and diabetes. Just losing 10% of your body weight can lower your risk.

Diabetes: Not producing enough insulin (a hormone secreted by the pancreas) or not responding to insulin appropriately causes the body’s blood glucose levels to rise, increasing the risk of having a heart attack.

The metabolic syndrome manifests itself with obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood glucose. The metabolic syndrome makes you twice as likely to have heart disease as people who don’t have the syndrome.

Family history of heart attacks: If your siblings, parents, or grandparents had heart attacks at a young age (before age 55 in men and age 65 in women), you might be at higher risk.

Exercise and Heart Health

Regular physical activity helps keep your heart fit. In general, try to get at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week. If that’s more than you can do, start slowly and work your way up. Even five minutes a day of exercise has health benefits.

For an added health boost, try to get about 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise daily, five days a week. Also, do muscle-strengthening exercises two or more days a week.

What Should I do if I have a Heart Attack?

If you experience any of these signs or symptoms, do the following:

Call 911 immediately, follow the operator’s instructions, and go straight to a hospital.

Do not drive to Hospital.

Try to be as calm as likely and take slow, deep breaths while waiting for the emergency professionals.

Women who think they are healthy often misinterpret heart attack symptoms because they don’t believe it could happen to them. That’s why it’s crucial to learn about heart attacks, know your numbers, and live heart health.


Heart attack symptoms can vary for men and women, but chest pain is the most common symptom for both. Women may also have less apparent non-chest pain symptoms and warning signs.