Health Advice



Women's wellness: Understand heart disease symptoms and risk factors unique to women

From Mayo Clinic News Network, Mayo Clinic News Network on

Published in Health & Fitness

Heart disease is often thought to be more of a problem for men. However, it's the most common cause of death for both women and men in the United States. Because some heart disease symptoms in women can differ from those in men, women often don't know what to look for.

Fortunately, by learning their unique heart disease symptoms, women can begin to reduce their risks.


The most common heart attack symptom in women is the same as in men -- some type of chest pain, pressure or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes. But chest pain is not always severe or even the most noticeable symptom, particularly in women. Women often describe it as pressure or tightness. And, it's possible to have a heart attack without chest pain.

Women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms unrelated to chest pain, such as:

Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort


Shortness of breath

Pain in one or both arms

Nausea or vomiting



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