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The University of Alabama

UA Matters: Heart Attacks — Different Signs for Men, Women

Dr. Joseph Fritz

Dr. Joseph Fritz

We’ve all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene not so dramatic.

While men and women share some of the same heart attack symptoms, The University of Alabama’s Dr. Joseph Fritz explains they can also have different symptoms.

  • For both women and men, the basic symptoms of a heart attack include chest tightness or pressure and/or pain in the chest, neck, jaw, arms or back.
  • For men, major symptoms prior to their heart attacks include shortness of breath, weakness, unusual fatigue, breaking out into a cold sweat and dizziness.
  • For women, major symptoms prior to their heart attacks include unusual fatigue, sleep disturbance, shortness of breath, indigestion and anxiety.
  • Remember that each heart attack is different, so your symptoms may not fit the cookie-cutter description.
  • Never ignore any possible symptoms of a heart attack, and get medical attention immediately.

Fritz is a practicing family medicine physician and an assistant professor in the department of family medicine at UA’s College of Community Health Sciences.uamatters_logo-thumb

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UA Matters is a weekly posting that offers information and tips on consumer issues facing Alabamians. The information is available to reprint in your publication free of charge. Also, access to subject matter experts is available upon request. For more information, contact Kim Eaton at 205/348-8325 or>.

The University of Alabama, a student-centered research university, is experiencing significant growth in both enrollment and academic quality. This growth, which is positively impacting the campus and the state's economy, is in keeping with UA's vision to be the university of choice for the best and brightest students. UA, the state's flagship university, is an academic community united in its commitment to enhancing the quality of life for all Alabamians.