During a heart attack, women are less likely to experience the crushing chest pain that some men describe as an elephant sitting on their chest. Instead, women may feel a persistent pain in the back, neck, jaw, or even shoulder blades. Before or during a heart attack, women are also more likely to experience fatigue, sweating, and nausea, as well as indigestion that might be mistaken for heartburn. If you feel like you just finished a marathon but you haven’t moved, you should take notice, explained Duke cardiologist Radha Kachhy, MD.
Another important warning sign to note besides where pain is located is when it occurs. “If it happens during times of exertion, it should be taken seriously. One of my patients said her shoulder hurt every time she walked. She thought it was her purse, but her shoulder throbbed even when she wasn’t holding her purse,” Dr. Kachhy said.