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Heart Attack: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You 

A man clutches his chest and doubles over. Heart attack, you say. But what about the woman who’s been feeling unusually tired and is experiencing nausea and back pain? She, too, could be having a heart attack.            

People often miss signs of a heart attack or ignore them, assuming something else is the problem. But delay can be costly. Acting fast at the first sign of heart attack symptoms can save lives and limit heart damage.

Why the Confusion?

Heart attack symptoms vary. Even people who have had a heart attack may experience different symptoms during another one. Plus, men’s and women’s symptoms may differ.

Chest discomfort or pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women. The sensation may range from pressure or fullness to squeezing, crushing pain. It may be constant or come and go.

Symptoms May Be Vague

While chest pain is common, both men and women may experience other symptoms. Women, particularly, are more likely to experience subtle signs such as:

  • Pain in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach

  • Nausea

  • Light-headedness

  • Abnormal fatigue 

  • Breathing problems

Sometimes symptoms occur suddenly, but they may also develop slowly over hours, days, or weeks. The more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you’re having a heart attack.