The Signs of Heart Attack in Women


There are many signs and symptoms of a heart attack and most of us have heard about the pain that radiates down the left arm or the dull pain in the middle of the back. Well, for women the signs might not be as clear cut as they are for men. In fact, recent studies have shown that women may not experience any of the “traditional” signs of a heart attack. For women, the signs can be very different and some of them can even seem unrelated. Following are a list of things to look for in women.


While there are many things that could cause a person to become nauseous, a woman experiencing unusual nausea, especially if it is accompanied by any of the other signs of a heart attack, should get medical attention right away. Unexplained waves of nausea are not a normal occurrence and should not be taken lightly. This is especially true in women who are over the age of 40.


This is a case of which came first, the chicken or the egg? No one is really sure whether high levels of anxiety are a symptom or a cause for heart attack in women. However, it is clear, after looking at quite a few studies that women who have had heart attacks, in retrospect were also suffering from a good deal of anxiety before hand. Women tend to be more prone to higher stress levels than men for some reason. Perhaps it is just part of being a woman. Women have so many things to worry about today including taking care of the children, working in the outside world and of course dealing with the hustle and bustle of everyday life.

Unexplained Tiredness

Anyone can become tired at off times throughout the day. Perhaps because they aren’t getting enough sleep at night or maybe their schedules have been busier than usual but one thing is clear. If a woman should begin to feel unexplained tiredness that doesn’t just happen once in awhile but becomes a problem for her, she may want to speak with her doctor about it. Many women have reported being extremely tired for weeks prior to a heart attack. Some of them said that all they did was sleep when they weren’t doing something else.

Back Pain

Women can develop very achy backs just before a heart attack. This feeling usually mimics that of a regular backache due to fatigue. However, a heart attack back ache is a little different as it is a dull aching feeling, usually between the shoulder blades. This back ache doesn’t go away when you change positions and may even radiate outward into your arms. If you begin to experience a back ache of this nature, don’t just assume it will get better on its own. Be on the safe side and get it checked out, especially if it persists for more than a day or so.

Strange Heart Beats

It’s not unusual for anyone to feel a few flutters here and there, after all the human heart beat does fluctuate once in awhile. However, if a woman begins to notice a strange pattern in her heart beat such as palpitations, pounding heart beat, constant flutters or anything of that nature, it is a good idea to get it checked out. Heart palpitations are never a good thing and whether or not a woman is in immediate danger of a heart attack or not, she should make her doctor aware of any heart palpitations she may be having.

Swelling of the Ankles or Feet

Edema is a huge precursor to heart attack in women. Sure some women retain fluid once in awhile but this is generally due to hormonal changes such as those which occur during menstruation. Swelling of the ankles and feet can be a sign of hypertension or heart attack in women and should not be ignored. In addition, Edema could be related to a lot of other medical conditions as well so any unusual swelling should be reported to a physician right away.

Loss of Breath Upon Waking

Many women who have survived heart attacks have reported waking up feeling as though they had just run a marathon. The feeling of being totally out of breath as if you have to gasp to catch any air in your lungs can be a sign of a heart attack in women. This sign tends to go unnoticed all too often as most women simply write it off as strange. In fact, many women have no idea that this may in fact be a symptom associated with a heart attack.

If you or a woman you know has been having any of the above signs or symptoms, it is highly suggested that you see, or urge your loved one to see a doctor right away. Heart attacks can be prevented if you know what to look for. Hundreds of thousands of women die each year from heart attacks. In fact, heart attack is one of the number one killers among both women and men, and is nothing to be taken lightly.

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Gary Wickman

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