Heart Attack Symptoms: Men vs. Women

Men and women both show the top three heart attack symptoms

(RxWiki News) Past research has suggested that women have different heart attack symptoms than men. But new findings suggest that may not be exactly true.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, women and men share the three most common heart attack symptoms: chest pain, shortness of breath and sweating.

This study looked at 27 studies over the last 20 years that detailed heart attack symptoms for women and men.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, is a circulation issue. This happens when blood flow to the heart is blocked and part of the heart muscle doesn’t get enough blood.

Although there is some overlap in these three symptoms, there still may be some differences in heart attack symptoms between women and men.

For example, women are more likely than men to have pain between the shoulder blades, nausea or vomiting and shortness of breath.

Although chest pain and sweating are the most common symptoms in both women and men, women are less likely than men to have chest pain and sweating.

Also, the average age for a first heart attack in men is 65. For women, that age is 72 years old.

This study does not mean that other symptoms will not be present. Other possible symptoms include the following:

  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling weak, faint or light-headed
  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders
  • Unexplained tiredness

Symptom recognition is very important because it helps you to seek prompt, life-saving medical attention.

Regardless of gender, it is extremely important to call 911 immediately if you have any heart attack symptoms.

According to the American College of Cardiology, around 795,000 Americans have a heart attack each year. This number translates to roughly one heart attack every 40 seconds.

The study authors called for additional research to determine the reasons for heart attack symptom differences between women and men.

Speak with your health care provider if you have any questions.

Last Updated:
June 5, 2020