How Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Men & Women

Reviewed: March 31, 2016
By eHealthIQ
How Heart Attack Symptoms Differ in Men & Women

Being at risk for a heart attack can be a frightening experience for anyone. Because of this, it is important that individuals look out for various symptoms that can indicate an on-coming heart attack. Not all heart attacks are the same and not all symptoms are equal. There are various differences between men and women when it comes to heart attack symptoms. It is important for every individual to know those differences in order to be better prepared to deal with an attack if and when it comes.

Heart Attack Symptoms for Men
For men, symptoms mainly remain in the chest. Chest discomfort, pain or pressure are the three main side effects to an on-coming heart attack. While men were reported to be 50 percent less likely than women to die from a heart attack, they were also reported to have more severe chest pain than women. It was also found that men were more likely to receive those symptoms due to exertion. A small percentage of men were found to feel side effects such as pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach, fatigue, slow breathing, lightheadedness or motion sickness and a discomfort similar to the feeling of heartburn.

Several men make the mistake of waiting too long before contacting the hospital or arranging for medical help. The main reason behind this is because symptoms are often assumed to be simple discomforts or irritants, until they begin to get worse. Therefore, most men are not calling for any assistance until they are already six hours into a heart attack. Doctors have concluded that the time truly needed for a successful save during a heart attack is five minutes. Men are advised to call an ambulance immediately if they are at-risk and feel any discomfort whatsoever.

Heart Attack Symptoms for Women
Women truly get the short end of the stick when it comes to heart attacks in general. They are 50 percent more likely to die from a heart attack than men and receive twice as many main side effects to look out for. Like men, women may feel pain or discomfort in the chest but it will feel differently. Men feel their pain mainly in the left side of the chest and down the arms. Women, however, may feel the pain anywhere in the chest and experience more of a squeezing or feeling of fullness. Again, like that small percentage of men, women can experience pain in the arms, back, neck and jaw, however, these symptoms are much more common in women than in men. Stomach pain, abdominal pressure, exhaustion, trouble breathing, nausea, excessive sweating and lightheadedness are also symptoms for women to watch out for.

While it is true that men make the mistake of waiting too long to call the hospital (a general time of six hours) women wait even longer. It is easier for woman to dismiss their symptoms as side-effects to some other issue, but women who are high-risk need to contact an ambulance immediately after any feeling of pain or discomfort.

Both men and woman have risks of going through a heart attack, but knowing the differences between the symptoms of both can be a huge help when looking out for any attack on the way.

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