Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Chest pain is the hallmark symptom of a heart attack. But not everyone having a heart attack experiences the same crushing pain. In particular, women, the elderly, or people with diabetes may experience no pain, or atypical symptoms. If you experience chest pain or any of the symptoms listed below in combination with chest discomfort, call emergency medical services (9-1-1) immediately. Do not delay. The more of these symptoms you experience together, the more likely it is that you may be having a heart attack. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Emergency medical personnel can begin treatment before you reach the hospital.

Heart Attack Symptoms

© 2008 Nucleus Medical Art, Inc.

Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain
    • May start as mild discomfort and progress to more intense pain
    • May come and go
    • May feel like a weight on the chest or a squeezing sensation
  • Discomfort in other parts of the upper body
    • Pain in the arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
    • A sensation of difficulty breathing
    • Rapid or shallow breathing
  • Sweating
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Anxiety

References:

American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.americanheart.org . Accessed August 14, 2008.

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/ .

Mayo Clinic website. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack-symptoms/HB00054 . Accessed January 23, 2007.



Last reviewed July 2008 by Michael J. Fucci, DO

Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

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