Recently, to make sure our practice is a safe place, we did our Applied (senior) First Aid re-certification.  During this, we learnt a very interesting fact about women and heart attacks.

Women have a higher likelihood of being misdiagnosed when having a heart attack.


While some women get the typical crushing chest pain or pain in the left arm, some reports suggest that up to 50% do not and therefore do not realize they are having a heart attack until they pass out and sometimes, even the medical staff do not pick it up, misdiagnosing gastritis or indigestion.

Common signs and symptoms of heart attack in women are often a bit more subtle and easily mistaken:

  • Indigestion or heartburn.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Unusual fatigue or weakness.
  • Cold sweat.
While we all know about crushing, squeezing, pressure sensation in the chest.  Less commonly known pain or signs from a heart attack can be:
  • Radiating pain into the jaw or neck.
  • Pain in the back or pain or tingling travelling up the back.
  • Nausea.
  • Sweating.

Remember, if in doubt, call 000.  Do not call family.  Do not call your doctor as you may pass out before you can call the ambulance and your doctor does not have equipment to deal with heart attacks.  The worst that can happen is that you are wrong and you are embarrassed.

1.  Call 000.

2.  Unlock the front door!!!

3.  If you are not allergic to aspirin, and aren’t already on blood thinners, consider taking some.

4.  Lie down at the front door so you are easy to find.

We hope you never need this information.