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Heart Disease in Women

Woman feeling dizzy

Did you know that heart disease is the number one killer of women in the U.S.? Every 90 seconds, a woman in the U.S. has a heart attack. Also, women who have a heart attack tend to wait longer before seeking help than men do. However, if a woman seeks help quickly, she can get life-saving treatment and prevent damage to her heart.

The Office on Women’s Health has launched a national PSA campaign called “Make the Call. Don’t Miss a Beat.” to educate women about heart attacks. The campaign’s website highlights helpful information, including the symptoms of a heart attack, what to do when an ambulance arrives and tips for getting the best care at a hospital.

The Signs of a Heart Attack

Signs of a heart attack include the following physical symptoms:

  • Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there's a ton of weight on you
  • Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back, and jaw
  • Severe shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats, and you know it's not menopause
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
  • Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
  • Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting

Don't Wait -- Make the Call!

If you’re experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, it’s very important to call 9-1-1 quickly. Women tend to wait to contact 9-1-1. Treatment is more effective if given within 1 hour of when heart attack symptoms started. If you do not call for help quickly, by the time you reach the hospital and have the necessary tests, it may be too late for treatment to prevent heart damage. If you experience the symptoms of a heart attack, act fast and make the call!


Federal agencies and several health organizations offer more information and resources for women on preventing heart disease. Check these websites to learn more on how you can protect your health.

Make the Call, Don’t Miss a Beat, Heart Attack Information for Women

CDC: Division of Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

WomenHeart: The National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease

Wisewoman Program

American Heart Association