Heart Attack Symptoms in Women-
Every Heart Attack is Different.
- Readers Share Their True Heart Attack Experiences
The "classic" symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) are
1. Sudden pain or pressure in the chest
2. Shortness of Breath
3. Pain in the arms, especially the left arm.
But many women do not experience the classic symptoms. Women can
1. Pain in the upper back between the shoulder blades
2. Extreme fatigue
4. Any or none of the classic symptoms.
In other words, real women having real heart attacks have vastly
different symptoms than the symptoms taught in medical text books.
Heart attacks are under-diagnosed in women.
One of the reasons these pages were started at CollectiveWizdom was to
dispel and debunk the common misconceptions about what a heart
attack really feels like. A lot of women have died after ignoring the
real-life symptoms they were feeling because --and this is the saddest
part--their actual symptoms did not match the "classic" symptoms of a
The only advice you need to hear is from your own body. Believe your
body. As a woman, it is your best protection against mis-diagnosis.
Believe your body, even though
-The doctor, who knows best, tells you it's only indigestion
Believe your body, even though,
-You know it's just indigestion, and it'll go away if you can just get to
Believe your body, even though
-You know that pain in your jaw is because you ate too much popcorn
You should not guess at whether you are having a heart attack. If you
are at all unsure, if you think "maybe", if it even crosses your mind, go
to the Emergency Room. Go. Now.
If you are having a myocardial infarction, they can administer a
potentially life-saving clot-busting drug.
At CollectiveWizdom, we are on a quest to collect the real life experiences
of women and men who have had heart attacks. Join the quest.
If you have had a heart attack, make it a purposeful event by sharing
with other women and men. E-mail us at pages@ collectivewizdom.com.
You may make your submission anonymous but please include your first
name and the initial of your last name.
Make another woman or man Believe Their Body. Save a life.
Here is an Index of Real Life Heart Attack stories. We hope that
somewhere out there a woman or man will recognize their symptoms or
the symptoms of a loved one, and a life will be saved.
Index of Personal Heart Attack Stories
My Heart Attack --"I Had Just Had The Best Day"
My Heart Attack--"I Thought I Had Asthma"
"They Gave My Husband Indigestion Medicine But He Was Having a Heart Attack"
"I Thought It Was Just Nausea But I Was Having Heart Attack"
"My Job Drove Me to Have A Heart Attack at Age 37"
My Heart Attack--"I Had a Silent Heart Attack" (read this story below)
Are you a heart attack survivor? Help others by sharing your story: Send
it to firstname.lastname@example.org
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What Are the "Classic Symptoms"
of a Heart Attack for Men and
Almost everyone has seen the
Hollywood version of a classic
heart attack. We expect to see
Fred Sanford (remember "Sanford
& Son?) grabbing his chest,
staggering with a wrenched look
on his face, yelling "It's the Big
But, it turns out, what a heart
attack looks like to others, and
feels like to you, may be very
Here are the symptons the
American Heart Association says
you should look out for:
Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden
and intense — the "movie heart
attack," where no one doubts
what's happening. But most heart
attacks start slowly, with mild pain
or discomfort. Often people
affected aren't sure what's wrong
and wait too long before getting
help. Here are signs that can mean
a heart attack is happening:
• Chest discomfort. Most heart
attacks involve discomfort in the
center of the chest that lasts more
than a few minutes, or that goes
away and comes back. It can feel
like uncomfortable pressure,
squeezing, fullness or pain.
• Discomfort in other areas of
the upper body. Symptoms can
include pain or discomfort in one
or both arms, the back, neck, jaw
• Shortness of breath with or
without chest discomfort.
• Other signs may include
breaking out in a cold sweat,
nausea or lightheadedness
As with men, women's most
common heart attack symptom is
chest pain or discomfort. But
women are somewhat more likely
than men to experience some of
the other common symptoms,
particularly shortness of breath,
nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw
Learn the signs, but remember
this: Even if you're not sure it's a
heart attack, have it checked out.
Minutes matter! Fast action can
save lives — maybe your own. Don’
t wait more than five minutes to call
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the
fastest way to get lifesaving
treatment. Emergency medical
services staff can begin treatment
when they arrive — up to an hour
sooner than if someone gets to the
hospital by car. The staff are also
trained to revive someone whose
heart has stopped. Patients with
chest pain who arrive by
ambulance usually receive faster
treatment at the hospital, too.
If you can't access the emergency
medical services (EMS), have
someone drive you to the hospital
right away. If you're the one having
symptoms, don't drive yourself,
unless you have absolutely no
Source: American Heart
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