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Signs of a Heart Attack Differ Between Men and Women

  • Category: Ask the Expert
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Brittany Garcia

Your heart is arguably the most important organ in your body. It pumps blood throughout your body, delivering oxygen and nutrients to every cell, ensuring that everything is running smoothly. Marshall has some tips and information to help you keep your heart healthy and to know the signs when it’s not.


Heart disease is commonly considered “a man’s disease.” However, it is also the leading cause of death for women in the United States, causing approximately one in every four deaths.

But heart attacks don’t feel the same for women as they do for men. The symptoms in women can be quite subtle, according to Lena Avedissian, MD, a board-certified cardiologist with Marshall.

Common and well-known symptoms of coronary artery disease in both men and women include chest pain, tightness or pressure with exertion. In women, symptoms can present as a burning sensation that can occur with rest or mental stress. Other common symptoms in women are weakness, fatigue or shortness of breath.

Dr. Avedissian notes, “symptoms of acute heart attacks in women are not dramatic, but can be subtle signs such as abdominal or back pain, nausea and vomiting.” These symptoms can be mistaken for less lifethreatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.

It’s important to pay attention to signs that the body gives you and request medical care.

For an appointment with a Marshall Cardiologist, call 530-626-9488