95% of women experience early warning signals (called prodromal symptoms) weeks or even months leading up to their cardiac event. 
It’s important for women to know these warning signs so that they can immediately go to their doctor and get the right test at the right time.
Some of the early warning symptoms are:
- Cold and excessive sweating – Feeling nervous and experiencing cold sweat is a common indicator of heart problems among women. The sweat is more related to stress than from exercising or from heat.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw, and stomach – This pain can be sudden or gradual. It may increase and decrease alternately before becoming intense. Women should always inform their doctor about such symptoms in any part of their bodies above the waist.
- Extreme or unusual fatigue – Feeling extremely tired, even when there isn’t a lot of physical activity, or have been sitting still for a while, is a warning sign before the onset of a heart attack.
- Shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness – Feeling nauseated and having trouble breathing without exertion is another key symptom to be wary of.
- Sleep disturbances – Having difficulty sleeping or waking up suddenly from sleep are additional factors to take into account.
- Chest pain or discomfort – The most common symptom of a heart attack, but women may experience it differently than men. They may feel a painful squeezing sensation anywhere on the chest; not necessarily just on the left side.
If you are a young woman, you may not experience all these symptoms at the same time. However, if you experience more than one of these signs, call 911 immediately. Remember, heart attacks can be fatal, regardless of whether symptoms are mild or severe.
Early detection leads to better prevention. Therefore, getting these early signs of a heart attack diagnosed will reduce your chances of getting this fatal disease in the future!
Make your heart health your main priority.
- Mosca L, Mochari-Greenberger H, Dolor RJ, Newby LK, Robb KJ. Twelve-year follow-up of American women’s awareness of cardiovascular disease risk and barriers to heart health. Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality Outcomes. 2010;3:120-7.
- Jean C. McSweeney. “Women’s Early Warning Symptoms of Acute Myocardial Infarction”. Circulation. 2003; 108: 2619-2623 November 3, 2003. doi: 10.1161/01.CIR.0000097116.29625.7C