Cardiovascular disease, including coronary heart disease and heart attack, is the leading cause of death in many other developed countries. What are the signs of an unhealthy heart? Many people don’t realize that the signs of heart disease in women can be different from those in men. According to an alarming discovery, women are often unaware that they have heart disease or are at risk of a heart attack.

Study Results: Signs of Heart Disease in Women Often Go Unnoticed

According to a study published in May 2022 in the Journal of the American Heart Association, heart disease in women is often undiagnosed and undertreated, and sometimes even dismissed by medical professionals.

Based on data from 29 million emergency department visits, women seem more likely to ignore signs of heart disease or heart attack and wait longer for help when they notice symptoms. When women seek professional help for signs of heart problems, such as going to the emergency room, they are less likely to be admitted to hospital or treated promptly.

Why is this so? It is thought that women who have heart attacks are less likely than men to experience obvious symptoms, such as sharp chest pains. Women with heart problems say they experience symptoms that can be attributed to other health issues but go undetected when it comes to indicating cardiovascular issues. For example, shortness of breath, cold sweats, fatigue, and jaw and back pain seem to be common in women with heart problems, which may cause doctors to delay identifying and treating the problem under -lying.

What it means

about one in five deaths among adult women is due to heart disease. The earlier the disease is detected, the less likely it is to lead to a heart attack or death.
This means that early detection and intervention are key to saving lives.

Photo credit: Freepik

How to detect early heart disease?

Experts recommend that women or men with risk factors for heart disease, as well as symptoms such as pain, seek medical care immediately if they notice the onset or progression of symptoms. The study also points out: Obtaining an EKG test within 10 minutes of arriving at the emergency department is an important recommendation for patients with chest pain, as the EKG test can aid in the early diagnosis and treatment of chest pain. AMI (acute myocardial infarction).

Young women with chest pain should be quick to seek help immediately for problems such as sudden pain, fatigue, or palpitations. Medical staff should be aware that women are less likely to be triaged as immediate/urgent cases and more likely to experience longer wait times than men when visiting the emergency room.
Conclusion: It is crucial that all people with the same symptoms (such as chest pain) are treated with care immediately, which can help prevent complications and save lives.

4 symptoms of heart disease in women

How can a woman know if she has heart problems? The most common signs of heart disease in women are:

1 Chest pain, also known as angina pectoris, which may be dull, thumping, or sharp (although the above study found that chest pain is less likely to be attributed to heart disease in women, especially young women and women of color, than men).
2 Abdominal and back pain
3 Pain in the neck, jaw or throat
4 Fatigue/malaise

Other less common symptoms and warning signs include:

– Indigestion, nausea, heartburn and vomiting
– Arrhythmia/heart palpitations, which feel like palpitations in the chest.
– dizziness
– shortness of breath
– Swelling of the feet, ankles, legs, abdomen or neck veins.

What are the first signs of a weak heart?

These are often tiredness and weakness, swelling in the legs, ankles and feet, and fast or irregular heartbeats. You may find that chest pain is not the only warning sign.

Although some women have symptoms of cardiovascular disease or heart attacks, not all do. So-called “silent” heart diseases can be fatal because they are not always detected or treated. In some cases, women only learn they have heart disease in an emergency, such as a heart attack or sudden, severe chest pain.

Tips to protect heart health

Many women who develop heart disease or have a heart attack have risk factors before they are diagnosed. The most important risk factors are:

– high blood pressure
– a high level of LDL cholesterol (low density lipoproteins)
– obesity
– diabetes
– a combination of these conditions, called metabolic syndrome.

Above all, if you are at increased risk for heart disease, do your best to manage these issues. Do not hesitate to consult your doctor for advice and to help you monitor your progress.
A number of dietary and lifestyle habits can help reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease, for example

– Eat a healthy, whole-food diet, such as a diet high in plant foods, fiber, healthy fats like omega-3s, and antioxidants.
– Quit smoking and drug use
– Do not abuse alcohol
– Maintain a healthy weight and avoid overweight or obesity.
– Exercise regularly and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.
– get enough sleep each night (about seven to nine hours)
– Manage stress, so that it does not contribute to hormonal problems and hypertension.


– Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the world and in America, for both men and women.
– Symptoms of heart disease vary depending on the type of condition, and some women experience no symptoms until they are faced with an emergency.
– Signs of heart disease in women may include pain in the chest, back, jaw or neck, fatigue and indigestion.
– To protect yourself from heart disease, including heart attack symptoms, change your diet and lifestyle. Prioritize a healthy and balanced diet, exercise regularly, reduce stress, get enough sleep and do not smoke.

* criptom strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the opinion of a health professional.