Heart health

Would You Recognize the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

Feb. 13, 2013 at 1:00 AM ET

Would You Recognize the Signs of a Heart Attack?
Frank Pedrick/Photolibrary/Getty Images /
Would You Recognize the Signs of a Heart Attack?

The classic signs of a heart attack are intense, sometimes squeezing chest pain or discomfort that often radiates down the left arm. The chest pain can be mild or severe, and both men and women often experience different symptoms, such as:

  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, and/or in the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath, which may occur with or without chest discomfort
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Feeling faint or woozy
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat

Women are more likely than men to experience shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and feelings of discomfort or pain in the back, neck or jaw. Women may also experience an entirely different set of symptoms while having a heart attack:

  • Heartburn
  • Loss of appetite
  • Feeling tired or weak
  • Coughing
  • Heart flutters

Heart attack symptoms can come on quickly or happen over a few days. If you aren’t feeling well, don’t ignore it. Call your doctor and report your symptoms. Even if you’ve previously had a heart attack, the warning signs may change the second time around, so it’s best to seek help if you’re feeling off — it could save your life.

If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.

Reviewed By: Kerry Prewitt, M.D., FACC

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