Written by Dr. Dave Hnida, CBS4 Medical EditorThink heart attack and you probably think elephant-on-the-chest crushing pain.

If you’re a women, think of something else.

Maybe just a some nausea and feeling light-headed.

Or maybe shoulder pain, such as I recently saw in a woman who thought that she had simply pulled a muscle — her eyes bugged out of her head when I said “heart.” (She’s fine, BTW.)

Studies bear out the fact that women and men tend to be different when it comes heart symptoms.

One study followed more than 1.4 million heart attack victims over a 12 year period, and found that 42 percent of women having a ticker problem did not have any chest pain at all.

And the younger the woman, the less likely she would have the crushing chest pain typically associated with a blocked heart artery — here we are talking women in the 40-55 range.

So here’s the deal. If you get crushing chest pain, you need to call 911.

If you get these other symptoms for more than a couple of minutes, the ER should be your next stop:

1. Neck, jaw, shoulder, or arm discomfort.

2. Nausea

3. Shortness of breath

4. Light-headed or dizzy

5. Sweatiness (and it’s easy to blame this one on hormones.)

One common characteristic with many of the symptoms is that you just feel poorly – in fact many women say they feel “flu-like.”

Bottom line women, get these symptoms, and a medical checkover is called for stat.

And guys, sometimes, though less often, follow the female symptom checklist. Don’t be a stubborn lughead– check it out.


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