Signs of a heart attack

Submitted on Wednesday February 19th, 2014
kate b. reynolds hospice home

We all know the classic heart attack portrayed over and over again in movies and on TV: someone writhing in sudden, severe chest pain.

But many heart attacks aren’t like that at all. Instead, they start slowly, typically with some mild, on/off pain or tightness in the chest. These signs are so much less dramatic than what people expect, they too often are ignored. The result, sadly, is often fatal when in fact a prompt response could have saved a loved one's life.

Symptoms to watch for in both men and women:

  • Pressure or fullness in the center of the chest. This is the most common symptom. It is often experienced as sensation of tightness. It is sometimes confused with indigestion. The sensation may last for several minutes or it may come and go.
  • Pain in other areas above the belly button. For instance, discomfort in the neck, jaw, back, or stomach, or in one or both arms.
  • Shortness of breath. Feeling suddenly out of breath or extra tired for no reason.
  • Nausea, lightheadedness, breaking out in a cold sweat, or fainting.

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