According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 790,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. While you should do your best to take specific measures to reduce your risk of a heart attack, not all heart attacks are entirely preventable. One of the best things you can do to keep you and your loved ones safe is to learn to recognize the signs of a heart attack — especially the difference in symptoms between men and women.
The Early Signs of a Heart Attack
- Chest Pain: This pain can be consistent or seem to come and go (this is commonly known as “stuttering” chest pain).
- Upper Body Discomfort: Before a heart attack, you may experience pain in your shoulders, neck, or jaw.
- Lightheadedness: You’ll feel faint, perhaps even nauseous, and may start sweating.
Signs of a Heart Attack in Men
In general, men are more likely to experience a heart attack than women are. They also experience certain symptoms that women may not. Such symptoms may include:
Chest pain is, perhaps, the most common symptom men display when suffering a heart attack. The pain feels heavy and as if a weight is upon one’s chest.
Shortness of Breath
As the heart attack progresses, men will feel as if they cannot catch their breath.
Upper Body Pain
This is most common in one’s arms, shoulders, back, or stomach.
Men will often break out in a cold sweat as they are having a heart attack.
Signs of a Heart Attack in Women
Unlike men, women often don’t experience pain in their arms during a heart attack. On the contrary, the symptoms they share with men tend to be milder, and women may experience other symptoms such as:
Sometimes, for several days leading up to a heart attack, women may feel overly fatigued. In some cases, the fatigue may come on suddenly.
Similarly to the fatigue, women may have trouble sleeping or staying asleep in the days before a heart attack.
Women tend to experience mild nausea during a heart attack.When dealing with a heart attack or cardiac event, every minute counts. Methodist Hospital is a dedicated STEMI receiving center for diagnosing and quickly treating heart attack patients. For more information on our Cardiology Program, contact our team directly at 626-898-8845.