heart attack symptoms in women, signs of heart attack in women, what does a heart attack feel like for women?

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Heart attacks can happen to anyone, regardless of gender, but there are some differences in how they may present in women compared to men. At Total Point we’re here to help educate you so you know the signs when an emergency happens. We’re also here to take care of you. Never ignore the signs of a heart attack—here’s what you need to know.

What Causes Heart Attacks in Women?

A heart attack happens when your heart isn’t getting enough blood. This is usually because a coronary artery is blocked or clogged due to plaque buildup. It could also happen because of a spasm, an embolism, or a spontaneous tear. 

Cardiac arrest is different from a heart attack. This condition occurs when your heart suddenly stops. However, heart attacks do increase your risk of cardiac arrest. If you’re wondering what a heart attack feels like, what the signs are, and if it feels different for men and women, you’re not alone. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for American women, so it’s wise to educate yourself on symptoms of a heart attack. 

Signs of a Heart Attack in Women

Historically, heart attacks have been more commonly associated with men because they are twice as likely to experience them. However, roughly 45% of women in the U.S. are living with some form of heart disease. 

Heart attacks in women include the following symptoms:

  • Upper body pain in the shoulders, back, or arm
  • Chest pain 
  • Pain the neck or jaw
  • Unusual tiredness or lethargy 
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Perspiration (sweating)
  • Nausea (upset stomach)
  • Extreme anxiety 

Classically, we’ve seen heart attacks represented as someone clutching their hands to their chest or grasping their left arm while doubling over in pain. However, that’s not always the case. For women, chest pain is still a factor, but it may not be the most severe symptom. Pain from a heart attack for women can feel as if it’s located between the shoulder blades, or it can be more prominent in the lower jaw and neck. It’s often accompanied by nausea, anxiety, and exhaustion. 

Heart Disease and Heart Attacks in Women

Because women tend to wait longer than men to get examined after experiencing symptoms, cardiovascular disease in women tends to be underdiagnosed. You can change this trend by prioritizing your health, listening to your body, and going to the ER if you have severe symptoms. 

Women can have the same risk factors for heart disease as men, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, obesity, and a sedentary lifestyle. However, they experience other risk factors such as preeclampsia during pregnancy, or an increased risk after menopause. Heart attacks are possible during pregnancy, but they are not common. 

Estrogen protects women against heart disease in their younger years by relaxing the arteries and promoting good cholesterol. After menopause, the risk of heart disease increases for women, because the protection estrogen provides in the reproductive phase of life has now ended. If you are postmenopausal, pay close attention to your body for signs that you may be experiencing a heart attack. 

Round-the-Clock Care for Your Heart in Houston

If you’re experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, it’s extremely necessary to get care right away. As we mentioned above, heart disease is the number one killer of adult women in the U.S. and Houston residents are no exception with nearly 28% of deaths being related to heart health. 


Whether or not you have a pre-existing heart condition, any signs of poor cardiovascular health should be examined and treated by a medical professional. Total Point offers emergency treatment and can provide the speedy care you need in any emergency. Don’t wait a second longer—visit your nearest Houston area ER right away!


Photo by Puwadon Sang-ngern from Pexels on 5.29.2024 | used under the creative commons license for commercial use.

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