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Heart Attacks and Unique Symptoms for Women

February is America Heart Month, and Cardiac Rehab Week is Feb. 12 - 18. A heart attack is just one heart issue of many that MCMC's Phase II Cardiac Rehab Program offerings can help with, on your road to recovery. Though you may be familiar with some of the more common symptoms of a potential heart attack such as chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, and nausea, women can often experience some different, additional symptoms. If ever in doubt, don't hesitate to get evaluated at MCMC's Emergency Room - every moment counts during a heart attack, and waiting to seek treatment can result in additional heart damage.


Heart attacks for men and women generally involve pain or discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes - or that goes away and then returns. For women, though, pain or discomfort may not be the most noticeable symptom and/or present differently than expected. Heart attack pain for women may feel more like pressure or tightness in the chest, or women may not even have chest pain when experiencing a heart attack.


Symptoms that women are more likely to experience during a heart attack include:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or upper belly (abdomen) discomfort

  • Shortness of breath

  • Pain in one or both arms

  • Nausea or vomiting

  • Sweating

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness

  • Unusual fatigue

  • Heartburn (indigestion)


If you or anyone you're with has chest discomfort or any of the other previously mentioned symptoms, don't hesitate to call 911 and get to MCMC's Emergency Room for immediate evaluation and treatment.

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