Categories: Cardiology

Different signs of Heart Attacks in men and women

85% of heart damage occurs in the first two hours following a heart attack. Such a damaged heart can leave you vulnerable for the rest of your life. Needless to say, you must take care of your heart to prevent a heart attack in the future. One of the key factors in preventing a heart attack is to heed the early warning signs and address them accordingly. Ignoring early symptoms significantly increases your risk of a heart attack.

Although most people associate the onset of a heart attack with chest pain, we now know that there are other symptoms too, and some of them are much more subtle.

Some of the early symptoms of a heart attack include the following:

  • Mild chest pain
  • Pain in the shoulders, neck, and jaw
  • Breathlessness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Severe anxiety
  • Lightheadedness


Statistically, men are more likely to suffer a heart attack than women. They also have heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. Although a heart attack is the same for both genders, there are some differences in the symptoms. A 2003 study found that chest pain, one of the primary symptoms in men, was among the least frequently reported symptoms in women.

Symptoms of a heart attack in men include the following:

  • Chest pain, as if there’s a massive physical weight on your chest
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat
  • Extreme nervousness or fear
  • Dizziness
  • Feeling as if you’re out of breath
  • Pain in the upper body
  • Stomach pain or indigestion

Note that experiencing one of these symptoms doesn’t necessarily mean you’re about to have a heart attack. Every heart attack is different. But if you feel as if something is wrong, take action.

Symptoms of a heart attack in women include the following:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Shortness of breath
  • Stomach pain or indigestion
  • Chest pain
  • Pain in the upper back, shoulder, or throat
  • Jaw pain

Many women go through menopause around the age of 50. During this period in life, your levels of estrogen will drop. Estrogen plays a role in maintaining good heart health, so naturally, you’re at greater risk of a heart attack after turning 50. Therefore, once you reach this age, it is imperative that you become even more conscious of your heart health.

Some additional symptoms that women over the age of 50 may experience are as follows:

  • Severe chest pain
  • Pain in the limbs, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Sweating
  • Fast or irregular heartbeat

Be aware of these symptoms and consult a doctor should any of them arise.


A heart attack may lead to a severe loss in the quality of life. But if you take note of the symptoms and see a doctor when something feels wrong, the chances of suffering one will be reduced. The symptoms differ between men and women, though, and women over the age of 50 are especially vulnerable.

Dr. Dhananjay R S | Consultant – Interventional Cardiologist | SS Narayana Heart Centre, Davanagere

Narayana Health

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