Heart Health: What to Look For

Before I get into the sections on how to prevent heart disease, I wanted to go over the more common symptoms of heart disease/heart attacks.

This is one area that is critical – many times, women don’t even know they’re having a heart attack because it doesn’t fall into the “symptoms” that are the most common (i.e., pain in chest, shooting pain in arm, etc).

From Women’s Health,

What are the signs of a heart attack?

For both women and men, the most common sign of a heart attack is:

  • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest. The pain or discomfort can be mild or strong. It can last more than a few minutes, or it can go away and come back.

Other common signs of a heart attack include:

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath (feeling like you can’t get enough air). The shortness of breath often occurs before or along with the chest pain or discomfort.
  • Nausea (feeling sick to your stomach) or vomiting
  • Feeling faint or woozy
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat

Women are more likely than men to have these other common signs of a heart attack, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and pain in the back, neck, or jaw. Women are also more likely to have less common signs of a heart attack, including:

  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Coughing
  • Heart flutters

Sometimes the signs of a heart attack happen suddenly, but they can also develop slowly, over hours, days, and even weeks before a heart attack occurs.

The more heart attack signs that you have, the more likely it is that you are having a heart attack. Also, if you’ve already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. Even if you’re not sure you’re having a heart attack, you should still have it checked out.


Being aware of all the possible symptoms is extremely important – if you notice any of these things, it’s always better to get checked out just in case.

Here is another list of possible symptoms from the FDA:

What are the signs of heart disease in women?

The most important sign is feeling really tired–even if after enough sleep. Other signs of heart disease in women are:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Feeling sick to the stomach
  • Feeling scared or nervous
  • New or worse headaches
  • An ache in the chest
  • Feeling “heavy” or “tight” in the chest
  • A burning feeling in the chest
  • Pain in the back, between the shoulders
  • Pain or tightness in the chest that spreads to the jaw, neck, shoulders, ear, or the inside of the arms
  • Pain in the belly, above the belly button

The Mayo Clinic reports that

…signs and symptoms are more subtle than the obvious crushing chest pain often associated with heart attacks. This may be because women tend to have blockages not only in their main arteries, but also in the smaller arteries that supply blood to the heart — a condition called small vessel heart disease.

Many women tend to show up in emergency rooms after much heart damage has already occurred because their symptoms are not those typically associated with a heart attack.

If you notice any of these symptoms, go to a doctor – Better to be safe than sorry.

Do you know anyone that has had a heart attack? Did they say what symptoms they had?

My mom said hers started at first feeling like indigestion, then turned into the shooting/stabbing pain in her shoulder.

My coworker that just passed away last week called in sick for bad indigestion before his heart attack happened.


  1. Thank you so much for these VERY vital, informative signs/symptoms and chart!!

  2. Great info! Such a serious disease, yet I don’t know much about it so I’m loving this heart healthy series!

  3. Pingback: Take Care of your Ticker «

  4. That’s awesome. It’s really important to stay informed.

    I’m working with some people to develop an iPhone app that would locate and guide the user the nearest AED.

    It’s a good idea to be prepared by having this app because ya never know!

    If you’re curious, check out our blog.


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