Published on March 01, 2016

Heart attacks in women

Yes, they happen.

On TV, a person having a heart attack—usually a man—clutches his chest in agony and falls to the floor.

Chest PainIn real life, that chest pain may feel more like uncomfortable pressure than intense pain. And the person having the heart attack is just as likely to be a woman as a man.

“Many women still think that heart attacks are mainly a problem for men,” says Swarna Bheemreddy, MD, of Mercy Cardiology. “But if you’re a woman, it’s important to know that you are at risk—and that you may have symptoms that are different from a man’s.”

Uncomfortable pressure or pain in the chest is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both sexes. But women are more likely than men to:

  • Feel short of breath
  • Have an upset stomach
  • Have back, jaw or shoulder pain
  • Feel extremely tired, even days before the attack

Don’t ignore these symptoms or chalk them up to things like stress or the flu. Call 911. The call could save your life.

Arrive alive

Always call 911 if you have symptoms of a heart attack.