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Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke in Women

Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke in Women

Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke in Women

Women are less likely than men to experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack. Women often have more subtle symptoms, labeled as "atypical" (not typical), although these symptoms may be very typical in women.

Not everyone experiencing angina or a heart attack will have all of the warning signs of heart attack. The most important thing is that symptoms are recognized as possible heart attack symptoms. Getting help early can prevent lasting heart damage due to a heart attack.


Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain is the most common symptom preceding a heart attack in women. Women often describe this chest pain as a pressure, tightness or achiness in the center of the chest. Because chest pain experienced by women is often less severe than what is described by men, women should take milder chest pain very seriously.
  • Pain or discomfort lasting more than 20 minutes in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath is a common symptom experienced by women, even without chest pain.
  • Other symptoms, such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or feeling faint or woozy.

Other symptoms can include:

  • Fast heartbeat (palpitations)
  • Unusual tiredness
  • Trouble sleeping
  • Problems breathing
  • Indigestion or loss of appetite
  • Anxiety

Symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Sudden weakness or numbness of face or limb on one side
  • Sudden severe headache
  • Difficulty talking or understanding speech
  • Unexplained dizziness
  • Sudden diminished or loss of vision in one eye

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, please call 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Referring Physicians
Open communication and cooperation with referring physicians is a critical component of achieving high-quality care and minimizing the challenges that come with treating cardiovascular conditions. For physician-to-physician consultation regarding the best patient care, please contact the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at 312.NM.HEART (664.3278).

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Lake Forest Hospital, please call 847.53.HEART (534.3278).

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials:

Six niche centers within the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute offer patient focused, specialized care, making the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute a leading destination for both initial diagnoses and second opinions. These niche programs include physicians, nurses and a range of multidisciplinary specialists working with patients to navigate the complex health care system, ensuring continuity of care and a seamless shift from inpatient to outpatient services and ultimately home.

Contact Us
To schedule an appointment or inquire about services at the Bluhm Cardiovascular Institute at Northwestern Medicine Central DuPage Hospital or Northwestern Medicine Delnor Hospital, please call 630.232.0280

Cardiovascular Clinical Trials
For information regarding cardiovascular clinical trials: