Common Signs of a Heart Attack


The symptoms of a heart attack vary not only from person to person, but also from one heart attack experience to another in the same individual. It is important to remember that heart attacks can come on gradually or all of a sudden, so be sure to know the symptoms and act quickly if you or your loved one could be experiencing a heart attack.

  • Chest Pain or Discomfort: The most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women is chest pain or discomfort in either the center of the chest or on the left side. This pain usually lasts a few minutes or comes and goes in waves. The sensation can be mild to severe and feel like heartburn or indigestion. 
  • Upper Body Pain: Many individuals experience upper body pain or discomfort in their back, shoulders, neck, jaw or upper stomach area during a heart attack. If this pain doesn’t go away or changes from its usual pattern, it may be a sign of a heart attack.
  • Shortness of Breath: When shortness of breath occurs without physical exertion, it may be a sign of a heart attack. Some individuals might experience shortness of breath prior to or along with chest pain, and some experience just shortness of breath during a heart attack.

During a heart attack, every second counts, which is why it is important to call 9-1-1 or rush to your closest emergency center as soon as you suspect an attack may be happening.

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