Heart Attack Information
Signs and Symptoms
Know the facts about heart attacks
Some heart attacks strike with intense pain and shortness of breath. Others start slowly and the symptoms are mild in comparison. Both pose serious risks including long term hospitalization and death.
Early Symptoms of Heart Attack
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Jaw pain
- Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of fullnes
- Chest Discomfort: Almost all heart attacks involve some chest discomfort. The pain can range from mild to severe and include pressure, heaviness or pain in the chest, arm or below the breastbone and may feel like fullness, indigestion, a choking feeling or heart burn.
- Other Discomfort: Pain or discomfort radiating to the back, neck, jaw, throat, arms or stomach.
- Weakness and/or Nausea: Extreme weakness, sweating, anxiety, shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting and dizziness.
- Symptoms Vary: Heart attack symptoms vary a great deal and may come and go mildly before becoming constant and alarming.
- Signs and symptoms often go unnoticed in women.
If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack call 911 right away.
Know your risks
Reduce the ones you can change
Some risk factors for heart attacks can be changed, others cannot. It is important to know your risk factors and what you can do to reduce them.
Know your personal risk for heart attack
- Age: Men who are 45 or older and women who are 55 or older have an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack.
- Gender: Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do.
- However, heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women.
- Diabetes: Diabetes, especially in the case of adult-onset or Type 2 diabetes, greatly increases your risk of a heart attack.
- Family history of heart attack: Your risk of a heart attack may be greater if your siblings, parents or grandparents have had heart attacks.
You can reduce your risk of a heart attack by:
- Monitoring and maintaining a healthy:
- Blood cholesterol
- Blood pressure
- Triglyceride level
- Controlling your weight
- Increasing your level of physical activity
- Making healthy food choices
- Not smoking, drinking excessive amounts of alcohol or using illegal drugs
Talk with your doctor about your personal risk for heart attack and what you can do to reduce your risk. You should consult your physician before making changes to your diet or exercise plan.