Signs of a Heart Attack in Women
By Virgin Islands Orthopaedics and Sports Medicine
July 13, 2020
Category: Cardiology
Tags: Heart Attack  

We usually hear more about men's susceptibility or risk of heart attacks but what women go through is underreported. Truth is, "about 1 in 16 women age 20 and older have coronary heart disease," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You should call 911 and rush to the hospital if someone has a heart attack, and notify your Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is when arteries supplying the heart with oxygenated blood narrow because of plaque buildup. Very little oxygen or none at all reaches the heart, causing a heart attack. Here's an animation of a heart attack to give you a better idea of what happened.

Heart Disease and Heart Attacks: Men vs. Women

Heart disease in men is usually due to coronary artery blockages, obstructive coronary artery disease. Women develop heart disease in the smaller arteries.

Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain, just like men, but women are more likely to suffer from other symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain. It's important to know the difference so you can seek proper treatment from your providers in St. Croix and St. Thomas.

Other symptoms include:

  1. Pressure in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes
  2. Shooting pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  3. Breaking out in a cold sweat
  4. Lightheadedness


"Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States," according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Women often underplay symptoms and assume they have the flu or acid reflux.

Angina in Women

Angina is a precursor to a heart attack. You may feel tightness, pressure, or discomfort in your chest while exercising or stressed. If you suffer from angina, you need to speak with your doctor in St. Thomas or St. Croix. Symptoms in women include:

  • Feeling out of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Abdominal pain
  • Sharp chest pain

Need a consultation?

If you need to speak with a doctor, contact Virgin Island Orthopaedics and Medical Specialists in St. Thomas and St. Croix at either location: (340) 714-2845 for St. Thomas or (340) 692-5000 for St. Croix.

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