Intermountain Health logo

Please enter the city or town where you'd like to find care.

Get care nowSign in

Health news and blog

    The Difference in Heart Attacks Between Men and Women

    The Difference in Heart Attacks Between Men and Women

    how to prevent artrial fibrillation

    Typical symptoms for heart attacks in men

    The usual suspects are there for men: fullness, tightness, and pressure in the chest. There can also be extra with neck pressure, left shoulder pressure, and stress radiating down the arm.

    “These symptoms can be sudden or ongoing, and often occur with exertion,” said Sergio Collado, MD, from McKay-Dee Cardiology Clinic. “Also, these symptoms may stop when the exertion stops, and may be reproduced when exertion continues.”

    Typical symptoms for heart attacks in women

    How women experience heart attacks could be the same that men feel. But they also could drastically differ. Collado said it could be just a mild shortness of breath or mild shoulder pain. Simple problems that could mean a drastic heart attack.

    Another potential sign for women is extreme fatigue. It’s important to pay attention to your body and recent troubles. Dr. Margit Lister, from Intermountain North Ogden Clinic spoke with KSL about the subtle symptoms that women may experience in a heart attack.

    RELATED: Women and Heart Disease - Take These Risks to Heart

    Misconceptions on heart attack warning signs

    Most misconceptions include patients who think that they have simple heart burn, or are convinced that it is just a stomach or gall-bladder problem.

    “Many times a heart attack is not a catastrophic event. Even tooth pain or ear and shoulder pain, may be something more,” Collado said.

    “We see a lot of patients that attribute their symptoms to something completely different, and are amazed when we tell them that they have been having an ongoing heart attack for several weeks.”

    What to do if you are experiencing a heart attack:

    • Call 911
    • Sit or lie down
    • Do NOT go to the hospital in a private car. You might need emergency care on the way to the hospital – which ambulance staff can provide.

    For more information on heart disease and symptoms, visit