Warning Signs

Being able to recognize the warning signs of heart attack and stroke could save your life. Every minute counts during the onset of a heart attack or stroke—the faster you receive medical treatment, the more likely you are to survive and the better your chances of a more complete recovery.

Women often experience the same symptoms as men do, but women and men don’t respond to a heart attack in the same ways and women often describe their symptoms differently than men. Women are less likely to believe they’re having a heart attack, and they are more likely to put off seeking treatment.

Heart Attack

  • Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness

Although symptoms are generally the same for men and women, women can sometimes experience symptoms that are less definite, such as chest discomfort rather than pain.

For women, chest pain may not be the first sign of heart trouble. Women have reported experiencing unusual tiredness, trouble sleeping, problems breathing, indigestion, and anxiety up to a month or so before the heart attack.


  • Weakness: Sudden loss of strength or sudden numbness in the face, arm or leg, even if temporary.
  • Trouble speaking: Sudden difficulty speaking or understanding or sudden confusion, even if temporary.
  • Vision problems: Sudden trouble with vision, even if temporary.
  • Headache: Sudden severe and unusual headache.
  • Dizziness: Sudden loss of balance, especially with any of the above signs.

Download a wallet card with the signs and symptoms.

If you experience ANY of the warning signs of heart attack or stroke, seek medical attention immediately! Call 9-1-1 or the emergency response number in your area. The faster you act, the better your chances of survival and recovery.