Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Middle-aged woman experiencing a common heart attack symptom - severe stomach pain

When you envision someone having a heart attack, you are most likely picturing a man grasping his arm and chest and falling to the ground. We’ve all seen this in the movies, so it must be what the average heart attack looks like, right? Wrong.

The truth is, heart disease is the number one killer of women in the United States. What’s scarier, is heart attack symptoms in women may be different from those experienced by men. Many women who are having a heart attack do not even know it.

That’s because women tend to feel a burning sensation in their abdomen and may experience lightheadedness, an upset stomach, and sweating. Women often chalk up the symptoms to acid-reflux, food poisoning, or even the stomach flu.

“I thought I had the flu”

This is exactly what happened to a woman in her 60’s who recently came to OSF PromptCare in Bloomington. Nurse practitioner, Jennifer Mool, quickly identified this woman’s flu-like symptoms were in fact due to an Acute Myocardial Infarction (MI).

The patient was in the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at OSF St. Joseph Medical Center within 30 minutes, where she had three stents placed.

“Jennifer’s efficiency, care, and hard work resulted in saving the woman’s life,” says Jaime Neill, site manager, Bloomington-Normal OSF PromptCare Centers. “All of the OSF PromptCare staff did an amazing job in following Rapid Response processes, which led to the patient being triaged and seen instantly. Stories like this make me so proud to work for OSF PromptCare!”

Unfortunately, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease. The good news is heart disease is preventable.

Take Action

As the exclusive sponsor of the American Heart Association’s Go Red for Women movement, OSF St. Joseph encourages women to educate themselves on their risks for heart disease. And not just in February (American Heart Month), but all year long!

Kick-start the new heart-healthy you by joining us on March 4 for Her Heart – a Women’s Heart Health Screening Program. With a focus on prevention and wellness, your Her Heart appointment will consist of:

  • cholesterol and glucose fingerstick,
  • waist measurement,
  • blood pressure assessment,
  • body composition testing,
  • a personal wellness profile and health risk assessment,
  • and education on results.

Our wellness expert will be your navigator in the lifelong journey of being heart-healthy.

Take action and take better care of your heart today!

Last Updated: July 8, 2019

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