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Recognizing Female Heart Attacks

Imagine yourself watching TV. If you see someone in a show having a heart attack, what kind of person comes to mind?


Most of the heart attacks that we see happen to men on TV are known as the “Hollywood heart attack.” Here, the man clutches his chest and passes out. In reality, this isn’t the norm for men experiencing heart attacks and for women, the difference is even more apparent.


Women are capable of experiencing heart attacks too, but we rarely see this properly acknowledged. This is because much of the research surrounding heart attacks had men in mind. This lack of proper research has actually resulted in women not recognizing symptoms of their own heart attacks.


In 1990, Cardiologist Dr. Nieca Goldberg was taught that heart attacks were simply “a man’s problem” and when she thought one of her female patients was experiencing a heart attack, other doctors said she was probably just "stressed out and needed a vacation." There was much denial that the woman was actually having a heart attack.


So, what kind of symptoms should we be looking out for? Men typically experience sharp chest pain as well as pain in the jaw and arm. Women experience fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea, and less exercise tolerance.

It’s important to know what women go through during a heart attack. Make sure to take notice of these symptoms, and you may just help save a life.


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