Heart Attack Symptoms

Chances are, you a have a preconceived idea of what a heart patient looks like. And you may or may not fit your criteria. However, research shows that people with heart disease cannot be stereotyped – more simply, we could all suffer a heart attack no matter our age or perceived health status.

A heart attack is defined as part of the heart muscle dying because of lack of blood flow. How do you know if this is happening to your heart?

Heart Attack Symptoms (from MayoClinic.com):

  • Chest discomfort or pain – This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.
  • Upper body pain – Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to you shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort.
  • Stomach pain – Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
  • Shortness of breath – You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort.
  • Anxiety – You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
  • Lightheadedness – You may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
  • Sweating – You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.
  • Nausea and vomiting – You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.

Additional heart attack symptoms in women:

Women may have all, none, many or a few of the typical heart attack symptoms. For women, the most common heart attack symptom is still some type of pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest. But women are more likely than are men to also have heart attack symptoms without chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or “heartburn”
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue

There are no heart attack symptoms that are specific to women; however, women may be more likely to experience certain symptoms over others. The best advice? Be aware of all possible symptoms, and seek emergency care if you experience them. Better to be sent home from the emergency room with a diagnosis of severe indigestion than to experience a heart attack, having decided to stay home.

For more information on heart attacks in women, visit www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack-symptoms/HB00054.

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