A common misconception is that heart attacks are mostly happening to men in their 40s. While this is certainly an age and gender where heart attacks are often seen, women are just as susceptible, and often don’t recognize the symptoms that one is impending. Women have different symptoms of a heart attack, so it’s important to recognize the warning signs so that help can be sought immediately.

At Albemarle Square Family Health, we are dedicated to providing health care to people of all ages. To schedule a health screening, or if you’re worried you’re at risk for heart issues, call us today to make an appointment with us.

Some of the signals of a heart attack can be more subtle in women than men, or different altogether. These are the warning signs that might be present when a heart attack strikes in women.

Extreme Fatigue

Women who have experienced a heart attack reported that they felt incredible fatigue in the weeks leading up to it. If you find yourself uncharacteristically tired even after performing simple tasks, make an appointment to see your physician. Even if this symptom isn’t related to a heart attack, it can sometimes signal an underlying cause that should be addressed medically.

Pressure in the Chest – Or Not

Here’s one difference between men and women experiencing a heart attack. While males characteristically feel pressure in the chest that feels as if an elephant is sitting on them, women have suffered heart attacks without this extreme pressure. But at the same time, they can have pressure, too. Women should be aware that this symptom might not show up, though, and to watch for other accompanying signs.

Shortness of Breath and Sweating

Sweating and feeling short of breath during and after exercise is normal. But if something as simple as making a bed or dusting the living room make you break out in a cold sweat, this is a sign that something is amiss. Sweating and becoming short of breath while simply sitting or lying down are also signs not to be ignored.


You’re likely used to the image of somebody clutching the chest in the midst of a heart attack. However, women may experience pain in other areas. For example, typically, the left arm will become painful when a man is having a heart attack, but women can have pain in both arms. Additionally, watch out for pain in the lower left side of the jaw, as well as in the upper and lower back (especially if it began in the chest and spread).

When to Call 911

Women are more likely than men to ignore these signs, many times out of denial. Don’t ignore these symptoms. You need to get checked out by a physician, even for peace of mind. Call 911 for the following, especially when you have any of the above symptoms:

  1. Your symptoms last more than five minutes
  2. Nausea, vomiting, feelings of indigestion, or choking
  3. Feeling faint or light-headed, dizzy, weak, or full of anxiety
  4. Irregular heartbeat, or rapid heartbeat
  5. Pain in the stomach

Schedule health screenings at Albemarle Square Family Health for yourself, children, and other family members. We are a full-service family health care center, and look forward to seeing you.