Heart Attack Symptoms Women Can’t Ignore (and How to Prevent Them)

Heart attacks are scary for everyone. However, they can creep up on women with little warning.

Research shows that women are more likely to have plaque spread throughout their blood vessels than suffer from significant blockages.

What does this mean?

It means that many women are still prone to heart attacks even though tests may show no artery blockage whatsoever.

The best way for many women to avoid the catastrophic effects of heart attacks is to pay close attention to symptoms.

But what are the heart attacks symptoms that women tend to ignore?

Keep reading if you want to learn the most telling symptoms of a heart attack, as well as how to prevent one from happening to you.

Heart Attack Symptoms Women Can't Ignore

Cardiologist doctor holds red heart in hand.

A List of Heart Attack Symptoms Women Can’t Ignore

For the most part, women and men share the same heart attack symptoms. With that said, there are a few heart attack symptoms women experience more often than men. Many of these symptoms are extremely subtle and hard to differentiate from other health issues.

If you or any of your loved ones experience one or more symptoms featured on this list, go to the emergency room immediately. The quicker you get these symptoms examined by a medical professional, the higher your chance for survival.

Arm Pain

Pain in the left arm is synonymous with heart attacks. Most people are well aware of this symptom. However, did you know that right arm pain is also one of the heart attack symptoms women shouldn’t ignore?

Usually, the pain will radiate near the shoulders, but it can also make its way down to your hands and fingers. In rare cases, the pain may also travel down the leg.

Shortness of Breath

This happens to be one of the heart attack symptoms women experience more often than men. The shortness of breath can range from very subtle to overt. This symptom can seem very similar to a panic attack.

Regardless, you should consult a medical professional immediately. Dial 911 as soon as you can or have a trusted family member or friend drive you to the emergency room. It’s better to get yourself checked out than to put your life in danger, as a good doctor can usually diagnose a heart attack fairly quickly.

Jaw/Tooth Pain

People who have heart attacks often report pain in their jaw or teeth. The reason for this is that the nerves from your heart sit near the ones from your jaw.

Although jaw pain is mostly a result of dental problems, there is a way to tell if the issue may be related to your heart. If you notice the pain getting worse as you push your body, the pain is more likely to stemming from the heart.

Random Sweating

Sweating is normal during a workout or a hot summer day. In the vast majority of situations, sweating does not indicate anything serious. However, random sweating is not a good sign, especially if other symptoms on this list accompany it.

In fact, sweating is one of the most common reasons why people suffering from heart attack seek treatment. It is extremely hard to ignore a body drenched in sweat. Pay close attention to cold sweats.


This is one of the most common examples of heart attack symptoms women ignore. The reason for this is that fatigue can be extremely subtle, especially for women who work all day.

However, fatigue as a symptom of a heart attack is easier to spot when you know what to look for. If you notice that you can barely walk, or if you have to take breaks often, consult a medical professional. Your heart may be having trouble getting enough blood.

Nausea or Vomiting

This is a symptom for many ailments other than heart attack. However, this is also one of the heart attack symptoms women experience more than men. Furthermore, since it is common, it is easily overlooked.
In this case, nausea may become severe and involve vomiting, or it may just lead to more subtle signs like frequent burping. Many women also state that they felt as if they were getting sick with the flu.


Much like shortness of breath, this is one of the heart attack symptoms women experience that resembles a panic attack. Also, the thought that you may be having a heart attack may trigger the feeling of dread as well.

An untrained professional can have a difficult time differentiating the two. However, anxiety symptoms generally subside much faster than heart attack symptoms.


Many people don’t think twice about heartburn, as it can be a minor symptom in most cases. But this is what makes it one of the most common heart attack symptoms that women ignore. Heartburn can serve as a warning for more serious issues.

If you don’t suffer from ingestion often, you should have your symptoms checked. Be especially careful if other heart attack symptoms tend to women ignore accompany your bout with heartburn.

Stomach Pain

Believe it or not, pain in your stomach region can also be a symptom of a heart attack. Unlike most stomach pain, this symptom lasts much longer. Additionally, the pain is not very sharp and resembles more of a discomfort than anything else.

If you feel dull discomfort near the upper portion of your abdomen, seek help. What may seem like a minor issue could very well turn out to be life-threatening.

Chest Pain

While it may seem like an obvious symptom, many people ignore minor chest pain. It can come and go, often feeling like someone is pressing down on your chest. Some may even experience heart palpitations.

Also, while many people think that only pain on the left side signals a heart attack, that isn’t always the case. Sometimes the pain can be near the center of the chest as well.


It can be normal to feel a bit light-headed after a grueling workout. Sometimes light-headedness is also related to dehydration. However, if you feel light-headed for no apparent reason, you may be experiencing one of the heart attack symptoms women often ignore.

Many people suffering from heart attacks also report feeling dizzy, while others even pass out. Pay close attention if you notice that the light-headed sensation lingering for too long.

Back Pain

Much like with chest pain and stomach pain, you may experience a dull discomfort between your shoulders in your upper back. This symptom could start weeks before a heart attack takes place. Also, it may be sporadic.

The intensity of the pain can vary substantially, and it may just feeling like something is pressing up against your back. If you do not usually have pain near your upper back region, take this symptom very seriously.

Factors That Increase Your Risk of a Heart Attack

There are several risk factors that can increase your probability of getting a heart attack. Some of those factors are as follows:

  • Age (65+)
  • Family history of heart issues
  • Cigarette smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Inactive lifestyle
  • Being overweight/obese
  • Diabetes

You will notice that some factors are completely out of your control, such as age and family history. This is why it is important to consult with a doctor if you are more likely to develop heart issues. However, there are also certain changes you can make in your life that can prevent heart attacks.

Tips to Prevent Heart Attacks

When you look at the biggest risk factors for heart attack, you will notice several factors that are controllable.

First, you want to eliminate all of your bad, unhealthy habits. Start by addressing addictions such as cigarette smoking, alcohol, and overeating. If you need to seek help, reach out to professionals who can even introduce you to a support group.

When it comes to your diet, make sure you tone down the cholesterol and calories. Put together a weight loss plan in order to escape obesity. Additionally, incorporate natural methods that help you accomplish your weight loss goals faster.

Don’t ignore exercise. Start slowly with some light cardio so that your body can adapt. Eventually, work your way up to more intense exercises and programs that will help you build muscle so you can burn more fat.

Make sure you pay attention to your blood sugar levels. Also, don’t neglect your blood pressure either. Having routine checkups can help you monitor your body.

When you make the proper changes to your lifestyle and become aware of the heart attack symptoms women tend to ignore, you protect yourself.

Final Thoughts

Heart attacks can be absolutely devastating. The person suffering from a heart attack is not the only one who experiences agony. All of the friends and family around her do as well.

A healthy diet goes a long way in reducing your risk of a heart attack. It can be the difference between life and death in many cases.

Make sure to pay attention to the heart attack symptoms women often ignore. Don’t let yourself become a victim of something that is often preventable.

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