Shoulder, jaw and neck pain: Signs of heart attack?

Do you know the less obvious signs of heart attack?

This article is part of a series on the signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women. Several Norton Heart Care providers have come together to raise awareness and provide tips just for women. Because signs of heart attack can be different for women than men, it’s important to know what to look for and what to do to save your life or the life of someone close to you.

Many times when we think of heart attack symptoms we imagine crushing chest pain that causes intense sweating and nausea. While these symptoms are always quite concerning, there are other less obvious signs of heart attack.

“Often patients, particularly women, will experience pain in the shoulder, arms, neck and jaw, or between the shoulder blades,” said Robert Rogers, MSN, ACNP-BC, nurse practitioner with Norton Heart Specialists. “While it may seem like pain in these areas is not related to the heart, it actually is quite common.”

In fact, up to 40 percent of women will not experience any chest discomfort at all during a heart attack.

Rogers goes on to explain that pain in the shoulders, arms, neck or jaw, called “referred” pain, has to do with how nerves in the upper body are affected by what’s going on with the heart.

If you think you or someone near you is having a heart attack, don’t wait to see if symptoms go away, and don’t try to drive yourself to the hospital. Always call 911 immediately. EMS can begin lifesaving treatment en route to the closest hospital.



Learn more about caring for your heart

Throughout February, Norton Heart Care is offering a variety of events to learn more about having a healthy heart. Find a list here.

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