Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms May Surprise You

Stacey Rosen, MD

Think heart health is a “men’s problem”? Guess again. In fact, more American women die from heart attacks (also called myocardial infarction or MI) than men every year.

Almost everyone knows that severe chest pain, shortness of breath and light-headedness can signify an MI. While many women experience heart attacks this way, they are more likely to feel “atypical” symptoms than men.

Such atypical MI symptoms include mild chest discomfort that does not always feel like “pressure”, back or neck pain, increased fatigue or mild nausea. Sometimes these warning signs fade and return, which can falsely lower the concern that they may indicate a serious problem. So such a subtle heart attack signals can unfortunately – and dangerously – go unheeded.

Recognizing the warnings signs of a heart attack can save lives. Some heart attack treatments are only effective when used early, so fast action – calling 911 within five minutes of the onset of symptoms – can save a life. Even if you’re not sure if you are having a heart attack, check with a doctor immediately. Better safe than sorry.

See Dr. Rosen and other North Shore – LIJ experts in our new heart health video in the North Shore-LIJ Health System video portal.

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