Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack, could save a life – and it may be your own!
So what does a heart attack feel like? We’re led to believe that a heart attack is dramatic and sudden, like when a TV actor grabs his chest and doubles in pain. But in real life, heart attacks can sneak up slowly.
You may just feel mild uneasiness and not understand what’s wrong.
But no matter what warning signs of a heart attack you experience or suspect, it’s not the time to think about prevention. Any heart attack warning signs mean you should get immediate 911 medical help.
Signs of a Heart Attack in Both Men and Women
Every year over a million Americans have a heart attack – and nearly half are fatal. But what you need to remember is that the vast majority of fatalities are those who don’t get to the emergency room in time.
Otherwise, with medical treatment, heart attack survival rate is over 90%.
So, it’s vitally important to know all the different early warning signs of a heart attack, in both men and women, since signs can vary widely.
|WARNING SIGNS||What does a heart attack feel like?|
|Discomfort or pain in the center of the chest||It might feel like pain, heavy pressure, tightness, squeezing, burning and/or aching in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. This feeling could come and go.|
|Pain or discomfort in other upper body areas||Along with, or instead of, chest pain, you may have pain in the left shoulder, either arm, your back, neck, jaw, teeth or stomach, which may feel like indigestion or heartburn.|
|Shortness of breath||You could have difficulty breathing or feel breathless. This sometimes happens before chest discomfort.|
|Sweats or “cold sweat”||You might suddenly break out in a sweat and start feeling cold and clammy, for no apparent reason.|
|Light-headedness||You may feel dizziness, like you’re going to pass out, possibly along with anxiety or extreme weakness.|
|Nausea and vomiting||Instead of, or besides other stomach pain and discomfort, you could feel sick to your stomach and vomit.|
Or there may just be a vague feeling of being unwell, with no other signs. This is especially true for type 2 diabetics. Even someone who’s already had a heart attack could have entirely different symptoms the next time.
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Women
Women often mistakenly think that heart attack signs apply mainly to men. But heart disease is the #1 killer in the U.S. for both men AND women.
And although the most common sign of a heart attack in women is still chest discomfort or pain, women are far more likely than men to have varied warning signs of heart attack, either with or without chest pain.
In studies of women who have had severe heart attacks, only 30% reported chest pain or discomfort. The more frequent warning signs were:
- Unusual fatigue,
- Sleep disturbance,
- Shortness of breath,
- Indigestion or anxiety,
- Upper body discomfort,
- Lightheaded or dizziness.
And over three quarters (78%) of women reported having at least one of these warning signs for more than a month before their heart attack.
Although the warning signs of a heart attack may sometimes be very mild, vague or even barely noticeable, the end result is just as life-threatening as a heart attack that’s proceeded by extreme warning signs.
So be wary of unusual fatigue, indigestion, insomnia or dizziness. And when in doubt, check it out – get an immediate professional opinion!
In the meantime, before warning signs of a heart attack begin, start taking the steps now for stroke prevention and to prevent heart disease.
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