In the event of a heart attack, every second matters, and fast action can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why it’s vital to learn about and be on the alert for the following warning signs of a heart attack:
One of the most common warning signs of a heart attack is a feeling of discomfort, such as squeezing, pressure, fullness, or pain, in the central chest area. This feeling may last for more than a few minutes, or it may come and go.
Other upper body discomfort.
A heart attack can also involve pain or discomfort in the arms (one or both), neck, back, stomach, or jaw.
Shortness of breath.
A person experiencing a heart attack may have difficulty breathing properly and may feel short of breath. This warning sign can be present with or without any chest discomfort.
Feeling nauseous or lightheaded, or breaking out in a cold sweat are other possible signs of a heart attack.
One of the most important things to remember about heart attacks is that they are not always as sudden and dramatic as they are portrayed in the movies. A heart attack can start off quite slowly. Symptoms can come and go, and not all warning signs will be present in every heart attack. It can be difficult to be sure exactly what is wrong, and it’s this uncertainty that can lead to dangerous delays in getting help.
If you have any of the symptoms listed above, or observe someone who does, don’t wait to see if they go away or until you’re sure it’s a heart attack. Call 911 immediately; this is almost always the fastest way to get emergency help on the spot and the best way to get to a hospital quickly. Fast action in a heart attack can save lives, even your own, so learn the signs and be ready to respond.