Most studies on heart attacks, and heart attack symptoms, have been performed on men. But surprisingly, when the National Institutes of Health (NIH) studied heart attacks in women, they found that women have much different experiences. In fact, many of the symptoms of heart attacks in women are misdiagnosed as chronic fatigue or flu! So if you are a woman – or someone who loves one – you need to know how heart attack symptoms women differ from heart attack symptoms men.

Most people are taught to look for heart attack signs. And here is the first difference. In the NIH study, almost half of the women studied never experienced any chest pain – which is usually the first and most obvious sign of a heart attack in a man. However, women were aware of changes up to a month before their heart attack. The most common symptom was unusual fatigue, followed by sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion, and anxiety.

The problem for women is that these symptoms can – and often are – misdiagnosed as flu, indigestion, chronic fatigue. Since early diagnosis and treatment of a heart attack is critical to minimizing the damage from the heart attack, it is important that women having th4ese symptoms – especially if they occur suddenly – get examined by a doctor as quickly as possible. And, if the diagnosis is something relatively minor – ask your doctor if he or she has checked to see if you had or are having a heart attack.

Even during a heart attack, the symptoms are different. Whereas men recognize a heart attack most often by a crushing pain in the chest, usually radiating to the left arm, women may not suffer this. Women may experience a less intense chest pain, which expands upward and toward the shoulders, not the arm. This may be accompanied by upset stomach, nausea, vomiting, and chills – which unfortunately mimic flu. One symptom which may be unique to women’s heart attack is a sudden change in her skin: pale or clammy to the touch.

This article is not medical advice, and you must discuss your heart and your health with your doctor. There are many causes of heart attacks. You may be genetically predisposed to heart disease, and heart disease causes a significant number of heart attacks. Your diet may be such that you are overweight and the heart stress is too much. Or you may not be using proper stress techniques, which is causing your heart to work way too much.

You should have a complete physical and discuss any genetic or physical conditions you have which may contribute to a heart attack. I, for example, discovered a family history of high blood pressure. You should also take a long hard look at your life and see how you are handling stress. If you are not satisfied with your stress management, then change it. This goes for anything that contributes to stress. Your time management. Your relationships. Your finances. Make sure that you are minimizing the stress in your life.

Author's Bio: 

Rick Carter created STRESS JUDO COACHING, aggressive stress management coaching for maximum personal effectiveness, based on his 17+ years of experienced in the courtroom and 25+ years of experience in the dojo (martial arts school). Rick is a certified coach and attorney licensed in 3 states. If you want to develop the mindset of a black belt martial artist toward stressful situations, go to STRESS JUDO COACHING.