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How to Recognize A Heart Attack

Brooke Phillips, CWCMS
Editor | Shield HealthCare
01/27/14  11:19 PM PST
Woman researching heart attack symptoms

Heart Attack Symptoms

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are:

  1. Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  2. Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  3. Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest.
  4. Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  5. Shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, lightheadedness or nausea.

Often, symptoms of a heart attack go unnoticed or unacknowledged until too late. People tend to recognize the “Hollywood” heart attack, where the symptoms are obvious and unmistakable. Unfortunately, however, many people decide to wait out the more subtle symptoms, hoping they will go away – or blaming them on something else, such as indigestion.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

Women in particular tend to experience different symptoms than men do, contributing to the uncertainty and sometimes fatal delay. Women are more likely than men to experience the following symptoms:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Nausea or indigestion
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Abdominal discomfort that is similar to indigestion
  • Pressure, tightness or an uncomfortable ache in the neck, shoulder, or upper back

If you believe that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9–1–1 immediately. The faster that person receives treatment, the greater his or her chances of survival.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States. Click here to learn more about heart disease and how to reduce your risk.

For more information, visit WebMD and the American Heart Association, which provided source material for this article.

This article is for educational purposes only, and does not replace the advice of a qualified health care professional.

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