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Heart Attacks In Women: Common Causes, Symptoms & Prevention

October 24, 2022

The umbrella term heart disease refers to several heart conditions, including coronary artery disease and myocardial infarction, which you may know better by the name heart attack.

Although heart disease is commonly considered to be a man’s disease, in Australia, women who are undertreated for heart attack die at twice the rate of men and are less likely to receive proper treatment than men.

Fighting heart disease in women requires an understanding that they may have particular risk factors and non-typical symptoms. In this blog, we will learn more about heart attacks and how they affect women.


What are the symptoms of heart attacks in women?


Chest pain or discomfort is the most typical sign of a heart attack in women. This could cause discomfort, pressure, tightness, squeezing, or heartburn. It can come and go or persist for a longer time.

The pain and discomfort may also affect specific areas of the body, including your jaw, neck, shoulders, upper or lower back, arms and abdomen.

Other symptoms of heart attacks in women are the following:

  • shortness of breath
  • lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting
  • nausea, vomiting
  • cold sweats
  • fatigue
  • trouble sleeping
  • unusually fast or slow heart rate
  • arrhythmia
  • anxiety or fear

Another classic sign of heart attack in women is shoulder pain. Shoulder pain can occur during a heart attack in both men and women. According to certain studies, however, women may experience shoulder pain more frequently than men during a heart attack.


What are the risk factors for heart attacks in women?


Risk factors can affect both men and women. These include things like food, lack of exercise, and family history.

Women between the ages of 18 and 55 have a higher prevalence of some medical disorders that may raise their chance of having a heart attack, according to experts in a 2017 review.

Cancer, kidney failure, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and mental health conditions are associated with a higher chance of developing a heart attack.

Smoking, high cholesterol, and high blood pressure are also considered risk factors for both men and women. Meanwhile, diabetes and obesity are traditional cardiovascular risk factors more common in women than men.

Nonetheless, heart diseases can be “silent’ until some other symptoms are observed, and an emergency happens.


How can women reduce their risk?


For starters, identifying your risks is one step in reducing your likelihood of developing heart disease.

Smoking, obesity and high cholesterol are some risk factors for heart attacks that can be modified through a diet and lifestyle change. Managing current health conditions such as diabetes can also lower your risk.

Engage in regular physical activity and keep your weight in check. It doesn’t have to be intensive, and you don’t necessarily need a gym membership. Even simply going for a walk can help.

Make healthy food choices and limit your alcohol intake. Opt for heart-healthy meals. Check our menu for wholesome options to incorporate into your diet.



Heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death in Australian women despite the increase in awareness. Talk to your health care provider today to know your risk and make informed decisions about your health by reading our blogs regularly.


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