Signs of a Heart Attack: Recognizing Heart Attack Symptoms & Warning Signs
There are many warning signs of a heart attack that individuals should know about, as a heart attack occurs when one of the major arteries supplying blood to the heart becomes blocked, usually due to a build-up of plaque. While heart attack symptoms vary from person to person, common heart attack warning signs include:
- Chest pain that lasts several minutes or goes away and comes back. You may feel fullness or a squeezing sensation in the center of your chest.
- Pain and discomfort in other areas of the upper body, such as the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cold sweats, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, anxiety, indigestion and unexplained fatigue.
- Irregular or rapid heartbeats.
Click here to hear Dr. Marcus Sims explain more about the symptoms of a heart attack. If you or a loved one experiences any of these signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately, even if your heart attack signs and symptoms seem mild. DO NOT drive the patient to the hospital, as paramedics can treat the patient and communicate with the hospital en route, saving valuable time that can save heart muscle and lives. Learn how DeKalb Medical’s Atlanta-based heart services can help you identify additional heart attack symptoms, or read about risk factors for heart disease.
Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms and “Silent” Myocardial Infarctions
Women may experience different signs of a heart attack than men, and should be careful to note the heart attack symptoms unique to women. Notably, many women may experience heart attack warning signs long before an attack occurs, from several days before to one month before a heart attack. Female heart attack signs and symptoms include:
- Pain in the jaw or pain that spreads to the jaw.
- Feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
- Fatigue or an unexplained weakness that lasts for several days.
- Pain in the shoulder or in the upper-back.
- Pressure in the center of the chest.
Initial heart attack symptoms may begin as discomfort and then increase to severe pain. At this point, individuals should take note of the duration of the heart attack warning signs, as these signs of a heart attack may occur for 30 minutes or longer, and cannot be relieved by oral medications.
Additionally, some individuals may have a heart attack without experiencing any heart attack symptoms. This “silent” myocardial infarction, or a silent MI, typically occurs more often among individuals with diabetes, although any individual may experience a silent MI. Visit your doctor frequently to reduce the risk of this possibility.
Contact DeKalb Medical’s Heart and Vascular Institute today by calling 404.501.WELL (9355) to learn more about identifying signs of a heart attack, or read more about our cardiac care in Atlanta.