Heart Attack Symptoms - Women vs Men | cannabisMD

What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack in Women vs Men?

Men vs Women, symptoms of heart attacks

The heart attack is considered a number one killer in the United States. It is one of the most common conditions, with about 610,000 people dying as a result, every year. This makes up for around one in every four deaths. About 735,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. For people of many areas in the United States, this disease is the leading cause of death.

Heart Attack, its Medical Definition

Damage or death of the heart muscle due to the loss of blood supply, and oxygen. The problems with the blood supply to the heart is generally the result of plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. These plaques are composed of cholesterol that deposits in the walls of the blood vessels causing blockages.

Warning Signs

If someone feels uncomfortable, don’t wait to give help. There are the telltale signs that a person might be experiencing a heart attack that will signal something is not right. For example, the most well known is discomfort in other areas of the upper body.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort, and chest discomfort itself, that may last more than a few minutes. This may be felt in the center of the chest. Someone may feel like there’s an uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Other signs to look out for include a cold sweat, lightheadedness, and nausea. But none of these may happen in women.

The Risk Factors for Heart Attack

According to research, there are around nine risk factors of heart attack, these exclude a family history, age, gender and genetic makeup (ethnicity, for example).

  • Stress
  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • High blood pressure
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Abstaining from alcohol
  • Eating too few fruits and vegetables
  • Abnormal cholesterol

Heart Attack Symptoms in Men

Men are more prone to heart attacks. If someone has a family background of heavy smokers, history of heart disease, high blood pressure, obesity, high blood cholesterol or other risk factors, then they may have a higher chance of having a heart attack too. These include:

  • Chest pain that may come and go
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness or a feeling like they are going to pass out
  • Difficulty in breathing, which may leave an impression like can’t get enough air, even when having enough rest
  • Discomfort in the body like arms, back, jaw, neck, stomach and left shoulder
  • Indigestion

Heart Attack in Women

Women are usually the ones who ignore the symptoms, putting it down to other possible conditions that are less serious. There are significant differences between men and women. Not in the symptoms themselves, but the signs tend to be less dramatic in women.

For both men and women, chest pain or discomfort is the most likely of the symptoms to present. However, women are more likely to experience the other symptoms. Specifically back or jaw pain, being out of breath and nausea.

If you developed back pain, nausea and cold sweats, would the possibility of a heart attack cross your mind?

There are no symptoms reported in 2015 for nearly 64 percent of women suddenly dying due to coronary heart disease. More recent studies have shown that men experience more chest pain than women do. Instead, in women, they usually report symptoms such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, and anxiety.

Women Over 50

Women are struggling with physical and hormonal changes as they are about to start menopause during this period (the levels of the hormone estrogen drop). Estrogen can help protect the health of your heart. The risk of heart attack increases after menopause.

Women over the age of 50 are more likely to experience the following during a heart attack;

  • Sweating
  • Severe chest pain
  • Palpitations
  • Feeling pain to the other parts of the body such as the neck, jaw, back, one or both arms or stomach


Prevention is usually the best course of action to take on an individual level. Eating a balanced diet, low in salts, sugars and saturated fats, is one of the top recommendations after quitting smoking. Smoking has been directly linked to buildup of cholesterol in arteries (atherosclerosis), which as was mentioned earlier, leads to heart attacks.

Diabetics should be very careful of their blood sugar levels. As with everyone, high levels of sugar consumed results in blood vessel damage, however in the case of diabetics, this can be a more serious and prolonged period of damage

Beat stress. Try yoga and meditation to unwind and keep yourself emotionally balanced. This doesn’t just help reduce the risk of a plethora of stress related conditions, but also generally improves your quality of life.

Blood pressure and cholesterol levels are very easy to check. Many pharmacists now offer these services and can give you feedback very quickly. It’s an odd analogy, but your body isn’t much different to a car, and regular maintenance and checkups do wonders.

Lifestyle is a big factor in the development of heart attack. Genetics also plays a vital role as some risk factors are inheritable. Trust your instincts if you think something is wrong. Call the doctor immediately or find someone for help. This is a very serious disease. A silent killer. Don’t ignore it if you ever experience the symptoms.

Editorial Staff
Editorial Staff
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