Fatigue, shortness of breath, nausea and back pain are often the primary symptoms of heart attacks in women, whereas chest pain and chest pressure are the most common symptoms in men, according to WebMD. Half the women in one study experienced no chest pain during a heart attack.
Indigestion, cold sweat, weakness and heart palpitations can also indicate a heart attack in progress in women, states WebMD. Prior to the attack, women may experience sleep disturbances. Exertion-induced heart attacks are more common in men than women, one study found, with 10 percent of the men in the same study reporting no pain experienced during their heart attacks. Less common symptoms experienced by both genders are dizziness, discomfort in the limbs or stomach, and pain in the neck and jaw.
Symptoms often vary between individuals, with chest pain starting suddenly or gradually, lasting a long period of time, or for intermittent periods, notes WebMD. Diabetics often suffer heart attacks with no pain. Individuals able to do so should chew one 325-milligram aspirin, or the equivalent amount in low-dose tablets, while waiting for medical help. Masticating the aspirin delivers it into the blood more quickly to prevent clotting. As of 2015, one out of every four deaths in the U.S. is caused by heart disease, according to the Centers for Disease Control.