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Indiana State Department of Health

INFluence Home Page > Action Item #3 Action Item #3

Action Item #3:  Learn the early warning signs of a heart attack, especially those more common for women.

Women Experience Heart Attacks, Too! 

It is a common misperception that only men experience heart disease and heart attacks.  The reality is:

• Heart disease is the number one killer of women.
• Women account for nearly half of all heart attack deaths.

As a woman of INFluence, you should be familiar with the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and know what to do if you or someone you know is experiencing these symptoms.

Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack in Women

• Pain, discomfort, tightness, uncomfortable pressure, fullness, and/or squeezing in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that comes and goes;
• Crushing chest pain;
• Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach;
• Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing;
Breaking out in a cold sweat, heart flutters, or paleness;
• Nausea;
• Stomach or abdominal pain;
• Lightheadedness or dizziness;
• Unexplained feelings of anxiety, weakness, or fatigue—especially during exertion.

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. 

What Can You Do as a Woman of INFluence?

Know the warning signs listed above and take action…quickly!  Women are less likely than men to seek medical attention for heart attack symptoms because they may not recognize the symptoms or believe they are actually having a heart attack.  Many more people would survive a heart attack if they got help more quickly. 

If you believe you or a woman you know is experiencing a heart attack, take immediate action!  Click here to learn what to do.

Sources: National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, WomenHeart