Heart disease doesn’t discriminate; it can lead to heart attacks for both men and women. Interestingly though, the warning signs often vary for the two genders. Men’s symptoms are often more telltale – much like how people experiencing heart attacks are depicted in films or on television shows. Women’s symptoms are not always as obvious and often seem more indicative of the flu or another illness. Thinking chest pain is the obvious indication of an attack, women often delay their decision to seek medical attention, a misconception that that leads to more fatalities. Know the signs – and the differences – that can help keep everyone safe.


Chest discomfort: Usually in the center of the chest, often heart attacks involve discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, or pain that goes away and comes back. Symptoms can vary from uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.

Pressure that spreads to arms, shoulders, back, neck, or jaw: Pain or discomfort isn’t isolated to the chest area. Be mindful of aches in either or both arms, your back, neck, jaw, shoulders, or stomach.


Head pain: Pain that signals a heart attack can start in the jaw or head. Some heart attack sufferers have also reported that they felt tooth pain or headaches, but had no chest pain at all.

Overwhelming and unusual fatigue: Often combined with shortness of breath, some women experienced extreme tiredness, often for days. While it may seem like a typical illness, this can be a sign of a far more serious problem.

Nausea and vomiting: Feeling sick to your stomach could actually be a sign of something much more serious than a common bug. Also be mindful of indigestion, burping, and reflux.

Light headedness, dizziness or sweating: Often combined with shortness of breath, women who have suffered heart attacks have reported that, even with no pain in their chests, they felt very dizzy, had slight heart flutters, and broke out in a cold, clammy sweat before they sought help.

Know the signs and don’t ignore symptoms that could be a signal of something more serious. If you are unsure if you should be checked or have questions, we encourage you to call one of our nurses at Pender Community Hospital or in one of our clinics. Our skilled team will guide you on the steps to take and are here to help. As always, in any emergency, call 911.