Heart Attack Symptoms Vary by Gender
Seeking prompt treatment is the key to surviving a heart attack, but if
you don't know the warning signs you are putting yourself at great
risk. You are also putting yourself at risk if you believe men and
women share the same heart attack symptoms.
The American Heart Association offers the following information that could potentially save your life:
Symptoms Vary for Women and Men
generally more likely to experience pain localized just to the left of
the breastbone or in the entire upper chest. Others have pain to the
left shoulder and inside the left arm to the waist; a common
combination is pain in the mid-chest, neck and jaw.
Women may not
have these classic symptoms. In women, a heart attack may reveal itself
through nausea, vomiting, tightness in the chest or shortness of breath
— signs that could be misinterpreted as indigestion.
signs associated with chest pain are similar for men and women, such as
fatigue, pain at rest, shortness of breath and weakness. Dizziness is
the next most common symptom reported by women, whereas men report arm
pain. When a women's chest pain is related to her heart, the pain tends
to be more vague than the type of chest pain men experience; back pain
also is twice as common for women as for men.
Women: Heed These First Signs of a Heart Attack
Arm or shoulder pain; jaw, neck or throat pain; toothache; pain in the
back, beneath the breastbone, or in the pit of the stomach.
Back pain — it's twice as common for women as for male patients.
Vague chest pains that come and go but fail to improve with rest.
Loss of appetite and shortness of breath at night, which are significantly more common among women than among men.
Combinations of these symptoms — heart attacks seldom strike different people in exactly the same way.
For more information, visit the American Heart Association's Web site at www.amhrt.org.