Some heart attacks are sudden and intense – the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the
center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes
away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure,
squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include
pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
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