In movies and television we often see the dramatized version of a person having a heart attack as a very sudden event characterized by pain centralized in the chest. In reality there are other signs and symptoms of a heart attack you should be aware of to be able to quickly identify if you or someone around you is experiencing a heart attack.
Common Signs of A Heart Attack
Chest Discomfort: Many heart attacks involve discomfort in the centre of the chest that can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. They can last more than a few minutes, or can go away and come back intermittently.
Discomfort in the Upper Areas of the Body: Pain or discomfort can also exist in both of the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of Breath: A shortness of breath or difficulty breathing can be a sign of a heart attack - with or without chest or upper body discomfort. It can also be accompanied by wheezing or coughing.
Cold Sweat: Experiencing a cold sweat without a change in temperature or physical exertion can be a symptom of a heart attack.
Nausea: Many people experiencing a heart attack can feel nauseous or feel as though they could vomit.
Lightheadedness and Dizziness: Feeling dizzy, disoriented, and light headed are all sings of a heart attack.
Signs of a Heart Attack in Women
Women are less likely than men to experience the “classic” signs of a heart attack - such as chest pain and pressure in the arms - which is why it’s so essential to identify the more subtle signs. More common signs of a heart attack in women are:
Stomach Pain: Many women mistake stomach pain accompanying a heart attack with heartburn, flu, or a stomach ulcer. Women suffering a heart attack often experience severe abdominal pressure that feels like something large and heavy sitting on their stomach.
Fatigue: Some women who have a heart attack can feel very tired, even while sitting or lying down. Simple activities like walking across a room can be extremely difficult.
Sweating: Though this can also be a sign of a cardiac episode in men, it’s often ignored in women as they may mistake it for a hot flash brought on by menopause.
Vomiting: Nausea when having a heart attack is experienced more by women than by men, and is accompanied by vomiting.
The more of these symptoms you are experiencing at the same time the more likely it is you are having a heart attack. If so, call 9-1-1 immediately for help. Always remember to err on the side of caution if you are unwell.
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