“Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Heart Attack Symptoms Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Heart Attack Signs
  • Heart Attack Symptoms
  • Heart Attack Warning Signs

Movie Heart Attacks

Are heart attacks in real life the same as heart attacks in movies?

Yes and no. In Warning Signs of A Heart Attack: Catch the Signs Early. the American Heart Association (AHA) elaborate on:

“Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort”.2

First Step

What is the first step to surviving a heart attack?

In Know the Symptoms the (United States) Department of Health and Human Services’ Office on Women’s Health (OWH) elaborate on:

“The first step to surviving a heart attack is to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack”.3

Signs and Symptoms

What are the most common signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

In Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Symptoms of A Heart Attack? the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explain:

“Heart attack symptoms can vary but the most common signs of a heart attack are:

  • Chest pain or discomfort that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away. It may feel like pressure, squeezing or heaviness in your chest. It can feel like indigestion or a burning sensation
  • Pain that may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
  • Feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath

Other less common symptoms include:

  • A sudden feeling of anxiety that can feel similar to a panic attack
  • Excessive coughing or wheezing due to a build up of fluid in the lungs”.4

In Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Symptoms of A Heart Attack? the BHF also note:

“Pain levels can also vary from person to person. For some people the pain or tightness in their chest is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable, or pain similar to indigestion.

Heart attack symptoms can persist over days, or they can come on suddenly and unexpectedly”.5

Different Differences

Heart Attack Symptoms Heart Attack SymptomsWhat are the differences in heart attack symptoms for men and women?

In Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms for Men and Women? the BHF explain:

“It’s a common misconception that men and women experience different symptoms when having a heart attack. While symptoms vary from person to person, there are no symptoms that women experience more or less often than men”.6

Women

In women, what is the most common heart attack symptom?

The AHA note:Heart Attack Symptoms

“Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing”.7

In Know the Symptoms the OWH explain:

“The most common heart attack symptom in women and men is chest pain. However, women are more likely to have at least one of these other heart attack signs.

Many women say that they felt “off” or that something was “just not right” before their heart attack, but they didn’t realize their symptoms could be related to their heart. Not all heart attacks feel the same. Some are sudden and intense. Others may start slowly with mild pain or discomfort, which can come and go over several hours, or get worse…”.8

In Heart Attack Symptoms In Women the AHA explain:

“If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain”.9

If you do not live in the United States call your country’s emergency telephone number.

Emergency Telephone Numbers

Can different countries have different emergency telephone numbers?

Different countries can have different emergency telephone numbers. It may therefore be in your best interest to choose to check what your country’s emergency telephone number is because “Minutes Matter!”

Don’t Delay

Do women delay seeking medical attention?

In Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms for Men and Women? the BHF note:

“Women are more likely to dismiss the idea that they may be having a heart attack and delay seeking medical attention. It’s important to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack, take them seriously and act quickly to prevent damaging the heart muscle”.10

Health Topics A-Z

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Sources

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Sources

  1. Heart Attack Symptoms In Women: Heart Attack Signs In Women. ‘I thought I had the flu’. Last Reviewed: 31 July 2015. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women Accessed: 23 March 2022
  2. Warning Signs of A Heart Attack: Catch the Signs Early. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp Accessed: 23 March 2022
  3. Know the Symptoms. Page Last Updated: 02 March 2018. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/heart-attack/know-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022
  4. Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Symptoms of A Heart Attack? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022
  5. Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Symptoms of A Heart Attack? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022
  6. Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms for Men and Women? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022
  7. Heart Attack Symptoms In Women: Heart Attack Signs In Women. ‘I thought I had the flu’. Last Reviewed: 31 July 2015. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women Accessed: 23 March 2022
  8. Know the Symptoms. Page Last Updated: 02 March 2018. Office on Women’s Health, United States Department of Health and Human Services, Womenshealth.gov https://www.womenshealth.gov/heart-attack/know-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022
  9. Heart Attack Symptoms In Women. Last Reviewed: 31 July 2015. American Heart Association https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/heart-attack/warning-signs-of-a-heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms-in-women Accessed: 23 March 2022
  10. Heart Attack Symptoms: What Are the Differences In Heart Attack Symptoms for Men and Women? British Heart Foundation https://www.bhf.org.uk/informationsupport/conditions/heart-attack/heart-attack-symptoms Accessed: 23 March 2022

Topic Last Updated: 23 March 2022 – Topic Last Reviewed: 23 March 2022
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