Silent Heart Attacks in Women



Today, I want to talk to you about something I discuss with many of my menopausal patients and that you may not be aware of. As a woman, you are more at risk of dying of a heart attack than your male counterpart.

Can you imagine? Most people think that heart disease is the picture of the guy with pain in his left arm or his right arm and crushing chest pain; but women account for 52% of the 80 million Americans that have heart disease. Of the 860,000 people who die from heart disease and heart attack, 52% are women. Women account for more than half of all the above conditions.

Here’s what you need to know about the symptoms of heart attack, in women. First of all, they’re so general, so non-specific, which itself is the problem. The symptoms may be pain in the neck, pain in the jaw or the angle of the jaw; it may also be an upper abdominal pain. It may just be lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting or it could be something called malaise, just a general feeling of discomfort; you just don’t feel good.

These symptoms are so non-specific. It could be the flu, it could be almost anything; but remember, one of the possibilities: it could be a heart attack, and that’s why it’s important to call 911 if you start to have any cluster of these symptoms.

Men, on the other hand, are much more likely to have that crushing chest pain I talked about; pain that radiates down their arm; mostly the left but it could also be the right arm. They could be having a sense of doom, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. Those symptoms are much more common with men, although they could occur in women; whereas, women are more likely to have pain in the angle of the jaw, in the neck, or in the upper abdomen, or a sense of nausea. They may have lightheadedness, dizziness or fainting, or this general feeling of discomfort.

If you are a woman -particularly if you are a woman in your 50s or in menopause –and you start to have those symptoms, don’t be afraid to call 911; it could save your life!

That’s one of the reasons you will find more information on heart disease and tips on other medical emergencies that could save your life in the book, “Save Your Life: What To Do in a Medical Emergency”, –available in Amazon and online stores –that I co-write with Shelly Glazier.

I hope this has been helpful to you. Check out the book. Remember these symptoms, and remember: it’s better to stay well that to get well.

Until next time,

Dr. Mache Seibel, Founder of My Menopause Magazine

Professor, University of Massachusetts Medical School

Founder My Menopause Magazine

(617) 916-1880

PS: Find more information of this type in My Menopause Magazine, available for the iPad and iPhone in the Apple Newsstand.

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