Heart attacks—different signs for men, women

Heart Attack
Myocardial Infarction or Heart Attack. Credit: Blausen Medical Communications/Wikipedia/CC-A 3.0

We've all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene not so dramatic.

While men and women share some of the same symptoms, The University of Alabama's Dr. Joseph Fritz explains they can also have different symptoms.

  • For both women and men, the basic symptoms of a heart attack include chest tightness or pressure and/or pain in the chest, neck, jaw, arms or back.
  • For men, major symptoms prior to their heart attacks include shortness of breath, weakness, unusual fatigue, breaking out into a cold sweat and dizziness.
  • For women, major symptoms prior to their heart attacks include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety.
  • Remember that each heart attack is different, so your symptoms may not fit the cookie-cutter description.
  • Never ignore any possible symptoms of a heart attack, and get immediately.
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