Heart Attack in Women

What is a Heart Attack? 

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction or MI, is a blockage of blood flow to the heart. If not treated quickly, the portion of the heart that isn't getting enough blood will begin to die, which could lead to heart failure.

Are Women at Risk for Heart Attack? 

In the United States, heart attacks are a leading cause of death for both women and men. Almost half of the people who die from heart attacks are women.

Heart Attack Risk Factors 

Risk factors for heart attack in women include:

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women 

As with men, the most common symptom of heart attack in women is chest pain. However, women are more likely to experience other heart attack warning signs, including:

  • Pressure, squeezing or fullness in the center of the chest
  • Indigestion or heartburn
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden excessive sweating
  • Nausea
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

When to Call 911 

Women are less likely than men to believe they are having a heart attack, which can lead to treatment delays. If you're having heart attack symptoms, it's important to call 911 right away. Early treatment for a heart attack can save your life.

After a Heart Attack 

If you've had a heart attack, a team of health care professionals at Wake Forest Baptist Health will use state-of-the-art equipment to diagnose your condition and take measures to help prevent further damage to your heart. Your team may include heart doctors (cardiologists), nurse specialists and others.

Request an Appointment with a Heart Center physician today.

Learn more about Wake Forest Baptist's cardiology services.

Quick Reference

The Heart Center
New Patients


Returning Patients


Find a Doctor Ways to Give


Patient Sally Irvin

“I had two heart attacks, but none of the classic symptoms.”

Sally Irvin was 50 years old when she had her first heart attack. She had another one four years later. Learn how her symptoms were misinterpreted and why heart disease is the number one killer of men AND women.

Last Updated: 02-14-2014
USNWR 2013-2014Magnet Hospital RecognitionConsumer Choice2014 Best DoctorsJoint Commission Report

Disclaimer: The information on this website is for general informational purposes only and SHOULD NOT be relied upon as a substitute for sound professional medical advice, evaluation or care from your physician or other qualified health care provider.