Open Accessibility Menu

10 Symptoms Women May Not Notice Before a Heart Attack

  • Category: LiveSmart
  • Posted On:
  • Written By: Baldwin
Woman in  red shirt with hands up

These symptoms may be experienced days or even weeks before a serious cardiac event.

It's usually pretty easy in movies and television shows to spot someone having a heart attack. The incident is depicted by someone grabbing their chest as they experience sudden and intense chest pain. But in real life, symptoms of a heart attack are often more subtle and may come on more gradually, especially in women.

The most obvious sign of a heart attack is pressure, pain or tightness in the chest. But here are some less obvious signs of a heart attack that may occur, especially in women. They may go unnoticed or may be attributed to another cause. These symptoms may not only appear during a heart attack or immediately prior to it, but some symptoms may even be noticeable for days or weeks before the event occurs.

Less Obvious Signs of a Heart Attack:

  1. Pressure, pain or tightness in the arm, neck, shoulder, jaw, back or abdomen
  2. Feeling of fullness
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Unusual fatigue or weakness
  5. Sleep problems
  6. Breaking out in a cold sweat
  7. Anxiety
  8. Indigestion
  9. Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  10. Nausea or vomiting

Women may experience symptoms for weeks before an actual heart attack occurs. Early symptoms may be mild and they may come and go. Over time, symptoms may become more intense. Unfortunately, many women who notice these symptoms either ignore them, attribute them to something else or are misdiagnosed when they see a doctor.

During a heart attack, women's symptoms may also be more subtle than men's symptoms. This may cause women to not seek treatment as quickly as they should, which may explain why women are less likely to survive their first heart attack than men.

If you are a women and experience any of the symptoms listed, consider that they may be related to an impending heart attack, especially if you have any risk factors for heart disease such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, smoking or a family history of heart disease. Pay attention to these symptoms and see a doctor. If your doctor shrugs off your symptoms or attributes them to something else but you feel they may be related to a cardiac issue, press the subject. The risks of a possible heart attack are too great to ignore.

For more LiveSmart articles, visit

Copyright 2022-2023 © Baldwin Publishing, Inc.  Health eCooks™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Cook eKitchen™ is a designated trademark of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein without the express approval of Baldwin Publishing, Inc. is strictly prohibited.

Date Last Reviewed: December 13, 2022

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

Learn more about Baldwin Publishing Inc. editorial policyprivacy policy, ADA compliance and sponsorship policy.

No information provided by Baldwin Publishing, Inc. in any article is a substitute for medical advice or treatment for any medical condition. Baldwin Publishing, Inc. strongly suggests that you use this information in consultation with your doctor or other health professional. Use or viewing of any Baldwin Publishing, Inc. article signifies your understanding and agreement to the disclaimer and acceptance of these terms of use.