Symptoms of a Heart Attack: How to Know

Symptoms of a heart attack helps you recognize when a person is having a heart attack. Heart Attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart reduces or ceases, causing damage to heart muscles. When this happens, the following symptoms can help you suspect a person who might be having a heart attack.

Symptoms of Heart Attack

CHEST PAIN which you may also feel at the shoulder, arms, back, neck or jaw, is the usual warning BUT NOT ALWAYS!.

Heart attack
A man clutching his chest due to pain from an attack.

Frequently, a heart attack (aka myocardial infarction or MI) occurs in the center or left side of the chest. It may last for more than a few minutes. The chest discomfort may sometimes feel like an ordinary heartburn but it is actually something more serious!

Aside from chest pain or discomfort, a person with heart attack may also feel;

  • anxious
  • nauseated
  • cold sweat
  • extreme tiredness
  • irregular heart beat
  • shortness of breath
  • like they’re about to faint
  • like they’re going to die

Nearly 1 in 3 people with a heart attack have unusual or atypical symptoms.
Women, diabetics & old people in particular may not have the distinctive chest pain described above.
So you don’t have to always wait to see chest pain before you start suspecting a heart attack!

In fact, 5% of people above 75yrs will have a heart attack with little or no symptoms at all. This is called Silent Heart Attack! A silent heart attack can be just as dangerous as the typical heart attack.

4 of the commonest signs of a silent heart attack are;

  • Pain, pressure, fullness or discomfort in your chest
  • Dizziness with difficulty in breathing
  • Discomfort in parts of your body other than the chest, like back, neck, jaw, stomach & arms
  • Feeling nauseated, cold & sweaty

Let me advise; you need to know the symptoms of a heart attack & never ignore them. You never can tell when this knowledge will save you or someone else. This will help you seek treatment before it’s too late!

For What to do during a heart attack, click here.

Authors

  • Nwonye Brian Chidiebube attended the College of Medicine, University of Nigeria Teaching Hospital, UNTH in Ituku Ozalla, Enugu State, Nigeria.

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