Published on October 07, 2016

Heart attack: Know the signs, get help

Heart attack symptoms can be subtle for some people.

For others, they are painfully obvious.

chest painIt’s best to be familiar with all the possible signs of a heart attack so no matter how it might strike you, you can recognize it and get help in a hurry.

Those signs include:

  • Chest pain. This may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. It can also feel like heartburn or indigestion. It may come and go.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms; the back, shoulders, neck or jaw; or above the belly button.
  • Shortness of breath, alone or with chest pain.
  • Nausea and vomiting.
  • Unusual fatigue, sometimes for days before the attack.
  • Cold sweat.
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.

Chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack for both men and women. But women are more likely to experience symptoms such as shortness of breath; nausea; fatigue; or pain in the back, shoulders or jaw.

A heart attack is a medical emergency. Getting help right away may save your life.

“Don’t second-guess yourself,” urges David Addley, DO, FACC, cardiologist at Mercy Fitzgerald. “Call 9-1-1 if you think there’s any chance you’re having a heart attack. That way, if something goes wrong, the emergency responders are there to help you. They have everything at their fingertips to address almost any emergency.”

Time is particularly of the essence when you’re having a heart attack.

“The longer you go without treatment, the more heart muscle you lose,” Dr. Addley says.

Call 9-1-1 if you think there’s any chance you’re having a heart attack.