Heart Attack Signs in Women

Heart Attack Signs in Women
Heart Attack Signs in Women (Image: Jean Scheijen)

Men are more likely to experience a heart attack. Because of this, many women don't think about it happening to them. The fact is that it can and does happen to women and the symptoms of these heart attacks are not the same as mens. Women need to know what the symptoms are so that they can be prepared in knowing what to do. They may just be able to save a friends life or their own.


There are two types of heart attack symptoms: the obvious, and the hidden. The obvious heart attack symptoms include persistant nausea and vomitting, unable to catch a breath, any pain or discomfort in the chest that may spread to a shoulder or arm, fast heart beat, upper back pain, and passing out. These are symptoms that a doctor would recognize as well as any women that had studied heart attack symptoms. There are some symptoms that are not so obvious and they are called hidden symptoms. These symptoms include unexplained weakness, fatigue, difficulty sleeping, indigestion, and anxiety issues. It is important to get a full physical at your physicians office if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.

Time Frame

While men generally get heart attacks around the age of fifty, women don't usually get them until after the age of sixty. Symptoms of a woman's heart attack can show up a few weeks before the heart attack actually happens. The symptoms that are most likely to develop several weeks ahead of time are the symptoms that are usually hidden. As these symptoms begin to occur more frequently and become more intense, a woman may then begin to notice the obvious heart attack symptoms. The obvious symptoms occur a couple of days before the actual heart attack itself. A woman should seek medical attention for the hidden symptoms to see whether or not they may be pre-curser to a heart attack. If the obvious symptoms are noted, the woman should seek help immediately.


Once one heart attack occurs, a woman is at more risk of suffering another one within the next five years. Because of this risk, a patient may be given a beta blocker and an aspirin regiment to thin the blood and prevent it from clotting. A woman would also be referred to Cardiac Rehabilitation which will help the woman get back in to shape after the heart attack. This may take about six weeks. Sometimes having a heart attack can cause a woman to go in to a state of depression. If this happens, the woman will need to seek treatment from a liscensed psychiatrist.


Some women are more at risk for having a heart attack and experiencing its symptoms. The most common time a woman experiences a heart attack is after they have gone through menopause. It is important that women who have ceased menstruating get yearly physicals. Women with diabetes are also more at risk as well as women who smoke. Heart diseases do run in families, so if a woman knows that her family has a history of heart attacks, she will want to discuss her risks with the doctor and get extra screenings for heart disease. Finally, any woman who eats an unhealthy diet or consumes a large amount of alcoholic beverages is at risk for a heart attack. These women should be aware of the risk they are placing on themselves and get regular check ups to keep an eye on their heart.


There are a few things that women can do to prevent heart attacks. A major adjustment is to quit smoking. This will immediately improve a woman's chances of not suffering a heart attack. A woman can then keep an eye on her blood pressure. High blood pressure is a known cause of heart attacks. High blood pressure is also treatable so keeping an eye on it is something simple that can even be done at home. Next, a woman can stay away from foods high in cholesterol that could clog up the arteries. A woman can also make sure she is exercising and maintaining a normal body weight. Obesity is another risk factor for having a heart attack and in most cases it can be prevented. Finally, a woman can work on eliminating the stress in her life. Not all stress can be eliminated, but some can be addressed through relaxation techniques or even counseling sessions.

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