Heart Attack Symptoms
Think you are having a heart attack?
Call 9-1-1 immediately!
If you have signs & symptoms of a heart attack, we encourage you to call 911. This will allow first responders to begin assessment immediately, providing EKG readings directly to our emergency room physicians and cardiologists remotely so they are ready when you arrive.
Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body — and call 9-1-1 if you feel:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs: cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, palpitations, paleness, weakness/fatigue or dizziness.
Symptoms may vary between men and women
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don't wait – call 9-1-1.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. EMS staff are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. They also provide EKG readings directly to our ER physicians and cardiologists remotely so the team is ready when you arrive. It is always best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room
According to the American Heart Association, about 90 percent of people who suffer out-of-hospital cardiac arrests die. CPR, especially if performed immediately, can double or triple a cardiac arrest victim’s chance of survival.
Hands-Only CPR has been shown to be as effective in the first few minutes as conventional CPR for cardiac arrest at home, at work or in public.
Learn how to perform Hands-Only CPR in just two easy steps.
Early Heart Attack Care (or EHAC) Education
EHAC education teaches you to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Why? We want you to become an active bystander so you can save a life - even if it’s yours.
- About 750,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 116,000 die
- Many of these patients experienced early symptoms.
- Most heart damage can occur within the first two hours of a heart attack. EHAC encourages you to know the subtle signs of a heart attack and act on them - BEFORE HEART DAMAGE OCCURS
What are the RISK FACTORS?
These are the general risk factors. Discuss your risk with your doctor.
- Chest pain, pressure, burning, aching or tightness - it may come and go
- A family history of cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or obese
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Using tobacco products
- Metabolic disease, diabetes or other illnesses
- For women it can also include birth control pills, a history of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or having a low birth weight baby
Learn the EARLY SIGNS & SYMPTOMS
Someone might have one or more of these common symptoms. When they start, they can be mild or come and go. Over time, the symptoms and pain become more intense. Stay alert and always pay attention to chest pressure.
- Feeling of fullness
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Jaw pain
- Excessive fatigue or weakness
- Nausea or vomiting
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning
What is the difference? MEN vs WOMEN
Some heart attack symptoms can be different between men and women. Why does it matter? Women may be less likely to seek immediate medical care which can cause more damage to the heart.
- Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side.
- Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous.
- Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into their jaw.
- Women may think their stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer.
What are ATYPICAL PRESENTATIONS?
In an atypical presentation, the signs and symptoms are different. How? The patient may not complain about pain or pressure in the chest. Be alert for the following:
- A sharp or “knife-like” pain that occurs with coughing or breathing.
- Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body.
- Difficult or labored breathing.
SURVIVE. DON'T DRIVE. CALL 9-1-1
We encourage everyone, including businesses & organizations to print and hang the flyer below.
Make Heart Health a Priority
If you have questions about your heart health but aren’t quite sure where to begin, start with a heart health assessment and learn more about any risks you may have for heart-related conditions. Your journey to a stronger heart starts here.