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Heart attack symptoms are different for men and women

Shortness of breath is a common condition people face for a number of reasons. Exercise, asthma, and obesity can all cause lack of breath. In these situations, shortness of breath can be relieved with time, rest, and sometimes medication. But it is important to know the potential heart attack symptoms for each gender. 

Likewise, chest pain can be caused by a variety of factors. Some of these include indigestion, acid reflux, or a muscle strain. Just like shortness of breath, time and medicine can aid these symptoms (as well as a change in diet)

However, if you are having trouble catching your breath even after long periods of rest and you are experiencing persistent chest pain, it could indicate a more severe underlying condition. See a doctor immediately, as this could be a symptom of heart disease, or worse, a heart attack.

Loss or shortness of breath and chest pain are the two most common symptoms of a heart attack. To be more specific, the pain is often a crushing, squeezing or pressure in the chest and the shortness of breath may cause you to feel dizzy, nauseous, or have a low pulse.

While these two symptoms are prevalent in most heart attack victims, what you may not know is that there are several other warning signs for a heart attack. However, these symptoms differ widely between men and women appearing at a much higher (or lower) rate, depending on your gender.

Heart attack symptoms in women

The good news for women is that they are less likely than men to have heart attacks (under the age of 55). However, when they do experience a heart attack, the result is often much worse. This is because women who have heart attacks also often have other conditions, like diabetes, obesity, a history of stroke, and depression.

While women are just as likely as men to experience shortness of breath and chest pain, they are also more likely to notice the following symptoms:

  • Feeling of pressure or discomfort in the throat (women are 12 times more likely to report)
  • Stomach aches and vomiting are nearly 4 times more likely to appear in women
  • Women experience the sensation of pressure on the chest 7 times more than men do
  • It should also be noted that women are more likely to feel back or jaw pain.

Finally, while this is not a symptom, it is worth noting that in clinical studies, women experiencing a heart problem were five times less likely to realize that their symptoms were coming from their heart.

Heart attack symptoms in men

Men are at a higher risk of heart disease, which is why it’s so important to understand the symptoms. The good news is that men tend to deal with heart attacks better than women.

However, there are certain symptoms more likely to appear in men than in women (in addition to shortness of breath and chest pain).

  • Men experience discomfort in the right side of their chest at a rate nearly 5 times higher than women (along with general discomfort nearly 3 times higher)
  • A dull ache is also often unique to men during a heart attack (about 4 times more likely)
  • Men are also nearly 4 times more likely to feel some kind of indigestion accompanying the heart attack

Don’t hesitate

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, don’t hesitate to call 911. Remember, just because certain symptoms are more likely in men doesn’t mean that you can’t experience them if you’re a woman (or vise versa).