Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

Image of heart shape and stethoscope with words: Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms: Men and Women may have different signs and symptoms.

Do you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack? You should because heart disease remains the leading cause of death in America for both men and women.  It kills an average of one woman every minute. Knowing the signs and symptoms just may save a life.

I was lucky that I survived having a heart attack in 2007.

What a surprise to find myself in this situation since I had so few risk factors. And my symptoms were the the typical “male” symptoms including chest pain, a dead-weight feeling in my left arm, sweating (in a cold movie theatre no less!), disorientation, and bouts of fatigue.

What are the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

The classic signs of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or neck pain. Chest pain is often described as crushing, pressure, tightness, or like indigestion. The pain is not felt “in the heart.”
  • Shortness of breath, especially with activity which can also lead to feeling weak, dizzy, or light-headed.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Nausea.
  • Trouble sleeping.

Women may have these symptoms or they may not have any symptoms (What? YES!). If women do have symptoms, they are more likely to feel:

  • Dizziness.
  • Fatigue or lack of energy.
  • Nausea.
  • Pain in their back, jaw, or abdomen.
  • Chest pressure or tightness (as opposed to chest pain).

When women do have chest pain, it is more likely to happen at rest, during routine activities, or from stress. Whereas, men feel chest pain more often with physical activity, which then goes away with rest. Chest pain in women may also be more painful or last longer than in men. 

All this to say – KNOW THE SIGNS!

If you suspect you may be having issues related to your heart, then you should seek treatment immediately. It is better to go to the hospital 50 times and be wrong, then not go the 1 time you are right.

Advocate for your health and SPEAK UP because heart disease is missed more often in women. 

You can hear more about my symptoms and experience with having a heart attack in this podcast by Omnia Fit. Thanks to Omnia Fit for inviting me to speak on this important topic. 

With gratitude,
– Coach Alexia


  1. Coronary Heart Disease: National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute.
  2. Prevent Heart Disease: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Published by Alexia Lewis RD, LD/N, CHC, CPT

Culinary Nutritionist (RD), Certified Health Coach (ACE), heart attack survivor, late-blooming home-cook, and your biggest cheerleader, confidence builder, and forever reminder-er to stop making things so darn complicated. DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is the opinion of the author(s) and is not medical advice, in fact, it may not be appropriate for you at all. Consult with your medical professional before making any changes. If you follow information on this site without consulting your healthcare provider, you are doing so at your own risk.

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