It is important to note that heart attack symptoms are often different for a woman than a man. Women don’t necessarily have crushing chest pain or in their left arm and may have “silent” symptoms that could be missed.
Common symptoms for women include:
1. Chest pain or discomfort. This may feel like a squeezing pressure in the chest, like the band of your bra is too tight.
2. Pain may appear in an arm, back, neck, or jaw (more common in women than men). It can be confusing for women who expect pain to be focused in their chest or left arm, not their back or jaw. Pain can be gradual or sudden and may wake you up from sleep. You should report any « untypical” symptoms in any part of your body above your waist to your physician.
3. Sometimes women mistake stomach pain with heartburn, the flu, or a stomach ulcer. Other times, women may experience severe abdominal pressure.
4. Shortness of breath, nausea, or being lightheaded. If you have difficulty breathing for no apparent reason, you could be experiencing a heart attack, especially if you have other accompanying symptoms.
5. Breaking out in a nervous, cold sweat is common amongst women having a heart attack.
6. Fatigue. Some women who have heart attacks feel extremely tired, even if they are sitting still. Patients often complain of “tiredness” in their chest even when doing a simple activity, like walking to the bathroom.
You may not have all of these symptoms, but if you have one or more signs, call 911 immediately.
If someone else drives you to the hospital, let the “triage nurse” know that you think you are having a heart attack. This is not the time to “lighten” the situation.
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