Warning Signs of Heart Disease

While there are many similarities in the symptoms of heart disease in men and women, there are even more differences. Some women have no symptoms, while others may experience pain or discomfort in the chest area, or in the neck, throat or jaw, or in the upper abdomen or back. Warning signs of heart disease include:

  • Heart Attack: Chest pain or discomfort, upper back pain, indigestion, heartburn, nausea/vomiting, extreme fatigue, upper body discomfort, and shortness of breath.
  • Arrhythmia: Fluttering feelings in the chest (palpitations).
  • Heart Failure: Shortness of breath, fatigue, swelling of the feet/ankles/legs/abdomen.
  • Stroke: Sudden weakness, paralysis (inability to move) or numbness of the face/arms/legs, especially on one side of the body. Other symptoms may include: confusion, trouble speaking or understanding speech, difficulty seeing in one or both eyes, shortness of breath, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, loss of consciousness, or sudden and severe headache.

See here for more information on symptoms of heart attack and stroke.

Risk Factors

High blood pressure, high LDL cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease. Other risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Poor diet
  • Physical inactivity
  • Excessive alcohol use
  • Smoking


Screening for heart disease generally includes regular blood pressure checks, exercising, making healthy food choices, managing chronic conditions such as diabetes, and controlling “bad” cholesterol levels. Click here for more information on reducing your risk of heart disease.