How Could I Know? What Are the Early Signs of a Heart Attack?
Many individuals who suffer from a heart attack are unaware of the symptoms. When a heart attack occurs time is of an essence. The more quickly you receive treatment the better your chances for survival and recovery are. Therefore, it is extremely important for you to know what the early signs of a heart attack are.
Heart attacks are not usually what you on TV and in the movies.
On television and in the movies a heart attack often appears to be very dramatic. Usually, the actor will clutch his chest in pain and collapse. While this type of heart attack can happen (sudden cardiac death), most heart attacks evolve over time and are symptomatic. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Recognizing these common symptoms may allow for early treatment and the prevention of additional damage, possibly saving your life.
- Chest Pain – Pain in the chest may be very mild. It could be described as a feeling of a “fullness” or “mild tightness”. If uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back, this may signal a heart attack. Many people believe that they have pulled a muscle in their chest, not realizing that this could be a warning sign.
- Jaw Pain, Tooth Pain, or Headache – Pain that one experiences in their head may be a sign of problematic heart symptoms.
- Shortness of Breath – Shortness of breath could be a symptom, especially when a person hasn’t been exercising. Following exercise, normal breathing patterns should return in a short period of time.
- Arm Pain – While the left arm is more likely to feel pain resulting from a heart attack, pain in either arm can be a symptom.
- Excessive Sweating – Like shortness of breath, excessive sweating could be the result of exercise or hot weather. If the sweating does not go away, or when there is no apparent reason for the perspiration, this may be a sign of heart trouble.
- Heartburn – While the food in one’s diet may cause heartburn, heartburn may also indicate a heart attack.
- Back Pain – Sudden pain, or a constant ache, in the back may result from damage to the heart.
- General Feeling of Illness – Nausea and a generally feeling of being unwell, that continues over a period of time, could be a sign of a heart problem.
- Symptoms in Men and Women – While the symptoms of a heart attack for men and women are similar, women may experience more subtle warnings. Women may feel pain or mild pressure above the abdomen or in the lower chest, lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, pressure in the upper back, and/or pronounced fatigue. Symptoms that men experience tend to occur more suddenly, although warning signs may occur at any time.
Early Signs of a Heart Attack
Even if you have previously suffered a heart attack the symptoms may not be the same. The key is not to ignore any symptoms and to get treatment as soon as possible. Awareness of these early warning signs, coupled with an understanding of the risk factors and common symptoms, may help you to recognize the possibility of an attack thereby prompting immediate medical attention.