Many people assume a heart attack feels like crushing pain centered on the left side of the chest. That’s frequently not the case in women, whose symptoms can be more subtle and harder to pinpoint.
For example, a woman may not have chest pain at all during a heart attack. “Instead, she may experience pain in her upper back or a feeling of fullness in the lower chest and upper abdomen, not unlike indigestion,” Pope says.
Symptoms of a heart attack in women often include:
- Pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest. It may last for several minutes, or it may stop and resume later
- Pain in one or both arms, the back or upper back, neck, jaw, throat or stomach
- Extreme fatigue
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
- Nausea/vomiting, cold sweats, lightheadedness or fainting
If you are concerned you are suffering a heart attack or another heart-related emergency, call 911.