Most women, and many doctors, still don't recognize that as many women as men die of coronary heart disease and heart attacks. And women do not fare as well as men after a heart attack. In addition, a heart attack in women is often not associated with the crushing chest pain and pressure that makes the diagnosis so evident in men. As a result, women coming to an emergency room with a heart attack may be sent home with the diagnosis of some other disorder.
Symptoms of a heart attack in women may include shortness of breath, heartburn, fatigue, cold sweats, and pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, or upper back. Women with such symptoms should be taken promptly to an emergency room if they have a history of heart failure or chest pain caused by angina, or if their doctor has told them that they have coronary heart disease. It would do no harm to alert the emergency room doctor of your concern that you might be having a heart attack, and you shouldn't feel guilty if he or she does a thorough evaluation and says that you are not having a heart attack.