Angina, or chest discomfort that occurs when the heart muscle doesn't receive sufficient oxygen-rich blood, is a common symptom of coronary heart disease in women, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. A sharp chest pain and pain in the jaw, abdomen, neck, throat or back can also accompany angina. Some women may have silent coronary heart disease and experience no signs or symptoms, until they exhibit symptoms of arrhythmia, heart failure or a heart attack.
Women are more likely than men to experience subtle symptoms of a heart attack, such as shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, right arm pain and sweating, explains Mayo Clinic. Other heart attack symptoms that occur frequently in women and are unrelated to chest pain include lightheadedness, dizziness and an unusual fatigue. Women who do experience chest pain describe it as a feeling of tightness or pressure on their chests, instead of the heavy, crushing pain usually associated with heart attacks in men. This can be a result of a disorder called microvascular disease, or small vessel heart disease, a condition characterized by blockages in the main and smaller arteries that provide blood to the heart. These symptoms can occur more frequently while women are at rest, asleep or going through periods of mental distress.