Warning for Women: Heart Attack Symptoms

February 2nd, 2012

While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most of them start slowly with mild pain or discomfort, and there are some particular warning signs to watch out for such as discomfort in the chest or other areas of the upper body and shortness of breath. However, many people don’t know that there can be different signs of a heart attack in women than in men.

As with men, the most common sign of a heart attack in women is chest pain and discomfort. But women are more likely to experience some of the less predictable symptoms of a heart attack, like:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Indigestion
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Weakness in the arms
  • Anxiety

Research by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) indicates that women often experience new or different physical symptoms as long as a month or more before experiencing heart attacks.

Regardless of which symptoms you experience, even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, have it checked out. It is also important to call for medical help right away. Five minutes could save your life. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment up to an hour sooner than getting to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance also usually receive faster treatment at the hospital.

Visiting Angels, servicing the San Francisco Bay area, understands how to properly care for someone with heart disease. To get an in-home care partner who works seamlessly with physicians to provide the best coordinated, specialized care, contact us in Alameda County at (510) 284-0000 or in Santa Clara County at (408) 735-0977.