But what is?
In a study funded by the NIH that appeared in the journal Circulation in 2003,1 the most frequent early warning symptom of heart attack in women was unusual fatigue ... not a tiredness that you might link to overwork or stress, but a fatigue so severe some women gave the example of not being able to make a bed without resting.
Most Women Have Early Warning Symptoms
Of the 515 women studied, 95% of them reported experiencing symptoms a month or more before a heart attack.
The most frequent symptoms reported were:
- unusual fatigue (70.7% of women experienced)
- sleep disturbances (47.8%)
- shortness of breath (42.1%)
- indigestion (39.4%)
- anxiousness (35.5%)
Even during a heart attack, 43% of women in this study "did not experience any type of chest discomfort."
The lead author of the study, Jean C. McSweeney, PhD:2
"McSweeney said her best advice is for women who have risk factors for heart disease such as smoking, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes or a family history of heart disease and who are experiencing [early warning] symptoms should contact their doctor before seeking emergency treatment."
1 For the study (full free access):
Women’s Early Warning Symptoms of Acute Myocardial Infarction
2 For a summary, provided by Yale-New Haven Health:
Signs Of Impending Heart Attacks Among Women