When you think of a person having a heart attack, most people tend to picture a man clutching his chest and falling to the floor. Even in the movies, this is how a heart attack is typically portrayed. For women, the symptoms can often be much less dramatic. This is one of the reasons why doctors can often misdiagnose a woman who is having a heart attack.
While some women might experience the standard symptoms of a tight chest and pain radiating down one arm, many other experience symptoms that are vague or even “silent.” To find out more about some common heart attack symptoms that occur in women, read further.
For women, the chest pain that accompanies a heart attack is usually very different than what men experience. In many cases, it might manifest as a squeezing sensation or fullness. Also, it may not be limited to just the left side. Women are likely to feel the pain anywhere in the chest.
Back, neck or jaw pain
For some women, the pain of a heart attack might occur somewhere other than the chest. The main focus might be in the back, neck, jaw or arms. In addition, the feeling might come and go before becoming overwhelming and sometimes it can come on suddenly or over time. Any pain that you experience above your waist that is not typical, or you do not know the cause of, should be of concern and you should notify your doctor immediately.
Stomach pain and abdominal pressure
In some cases, an individual might dismiss stomach discomfort as the symptoms of heartburn, the flu or an ulcer. Unfortunately, this pain might also be indicative of a heart attack. For women, the pain might feel like there is a great weight resting on the abdomen.
Shortness of breath, sweating, fatigue
Trouble breathing, breaking out in a cold sweat and unexplained fatigue are also common symptoms that women typically experience when having a heart attack. Like with the above signs, if you suffer from these conditions for no apparent reason, it is important to seek medical attention as soon as possible.
Since many of the above symptoms mirror those of less serious conditions, heart attacks in women often go undetected or misdiagnosed. If you or a loved one has suffered further injury or illness because a Seattle doctor either failed to diagnose you or provided a misdiagnosis, then you might be able to file a claim for damages.