According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 805,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks every year. Unfortunately, heart attacks can be mistaken for anxiety or heartburn. In addition, heart attack symptoms can differ between men and women.
This article will examine the warning signs of a heart attack, what it feels like, and how the symptoms differ between men and women.
What Is A Heart Attack?
A heart attack (a myocardial infarction) occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Not enough blood flowing to your heart muscle can damage the affected part of your heart and cause the muscle to die.
What Does A Heart Attack Feel Like?
A heart attack involves pain in the center or left side of the chest that comes and goes or lasts for several minutes. It’s often described as:
Certain symptoms can also occur with or without chest pain, and they include:
● Nausea and vomiting
● Sudden weakness or fatigue
How Do Heart Attack Symptoms Differ For Men vs. Women?
Chest pain or pressure is a regular heart attack symptom among men and women. However, the chest discomfort can differ for men and women.
Heart Attack Warning Signs For Men
The classic symptom of chest pain might not be present in every heart attack, but it remains the most common warning sign, especially among men. Other heart attack symptoms common in men include:
● A sudden cold sweat
● Back pain
● Arm pain
Heart Attack Warning Signs For Women
While chest pain is a regular symptom of a heart attack in women, the pain is commonly described as tightness or pressure rather than the “heavy weight on the chest” pain that men describe.
Women also experience non-traditional heart attack symptoms such as:
● Upper back pain that could feel like tingling and burning
● Pain or discomfort in the upper abdomen
● Dizziness or lightheadedness
● Nausea and vomiting
Chest pain is the most common heart attack warning sign. However, it feels different in men and women. The pain is described with men as a heavy chest weight. For women, chest pain is described as tightness or pressure.
Regardless, it’s important not to ignore symptoms that feel like a heart attack. Even if you’re not having a heart attack, it’s better to be evaluated than risk serious, life-threatening complications.