Women Have Heart Attacks Too!


Ladies, go with your guts. The chest pain you may experience could be a heart attack and not indigestion, a panic attack or just in “your head”. Don’t be afraid to show your face in the emergency room just because you are a woman and the facts have shown that men usually suffer from heart attacks.

My story occurred in August 2018:

My chronic migraines strike daily, and I suffered a horrendous two weeks of these excruciating headaches, and measuring on the unintelligible doctor’s pain scale of 1-10 the pain was nothing short of 10+ each day.

However, migraines had nothing to do with what was to follow.

Seated on my recliner chair attempting to ease the throbbing migraine pain, I suddenly felt an unusual aching; surrounding my chest area above my left boob.  It wasn’t an intense or stabbing pain, but similar to somebody wrapping and pulling a massive bandage across my chest, becoming more and more agonizing.

As my upper left arm and shoulder gradually felt a terrible pain, it was now radiating down my left arm and behind my shoulder blades. Also, breathing was becoming difficult.

What the hell was this?  It puzzled me.

I’m aware of health research that pain felt on the left side of the body can signal a heart attack, but as a healthy female, with no prior heart problems or family history of heart attacks, I was questioning the ‘heart attack’ theory.  Besides, the pain wasn’t overly “painful” compared to my migraines.

Perhaps it was something I ate? No, I only nibbled on a few crackers and had no appetite throughout the day.  Was it possible anxiety or a panic attack?  I don’t suffer from anxiety, and have never had a panic attack.

But, this pain was suspicious and frightening, and I was sensing a warning.  What’s next, what do I do?  I thought to myself, “I will feel stupid or sound like a paranoid woman calling an ambulance for chest pain if this is nothing.”  But I went with my gut and called for Emergency.

Calling the ambulance was the wisest move I could have ever made as, lo-and-behold, I had a heart attack!

Ladies, go with your gut!

Long story short, I was lucky that I did not require surgery for my heart attack; however, I was admitted to the ICU Cardiovascular Department at the hospital where I lived for four days.  My heart attack diagnosis was S.C.A.D. (Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection), and I had a complete recovery.

(I’ve recovered adequately from my heart attack, take my medication and, thank heavens, haven’t encountered any additional cardiac incidents.)

Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy, March 2020

Links for more info:

S.C.A.D. The Heart Attack That Strikes Young Women
American Heart Association
Women and Heart Attacks

This is a shirt I designed for a SCAD group and can be bought on Redbubble.com



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Mental Health Advocate for mental illness stigma. I started my "Living in Stigma" blog in 2007 with the purpose and hope of educating people about mental illness and also connect with those struggling with depression, PTSD, chronic pain and invisible illnesses. I am a chronic migraine sufferer myself, as well as, a sexual and emotional abuse survivor. Writer, poet, quotes. A survivor and a warrior.

4 thoughts on “Women Have Heart Attacks Too!”

  1. Yikes, it’s so scary to think how many get warning signs and ignore them because we think it’s probably nothing, or because it’s not as bad as other pain (like migraines) that we get. I’m glad you listened to your gut. Great post, thank you for sharing your experience & a very important reminder.
    Caz xx

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for commenting. It was amazing how many medical people stated, during my stay at the hospital, about how many times women don’t come to the hospital or seek help for cardio related pain. The E.R. doesn’t see as many women as men, that’s true, yet how many women have passed away that shouldn’t have. Deb. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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