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Different at Heart: How Heart Attacks Differ

In the old aspirin commercials, all heart attacks were dramatized the same: the person’s arm hurt or tingled and they clutched their chest before collapsing. 

Some people assume this two-step progression is still true. However, research shows three to five major symptoms of a heart attack—and they surface differently in men than in women.

While both men and women are affected by this leading cause of death, women often experience vague symptoms. Everyone should be aware of the common major warning signs of a heart attack.

While women also experience chest pain or discomfort, they may be more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Talk with your doctor about knowing your numbers, quitting smoking, losing weight, starting an exercise routine, and healthy eating.

More than 80% of heart disease and stroke events can be prevented by lifestyle changes and education. —the American Heart Association

If you think you are experiencing a heart attack, dial 911 immediately for emergency care. 


If you have questions or need more information about living a heart healthy lifestyle, contact Carrie Snyder, MSN, APRN, FNP-BC—Beebe Healthcare’s cardiac nurse navigator—by calling (844) 316-3334 or emailing

This article first appeared in the Summer 2016 issue of the Beacon.