Heart Attack

Some heart attacks strike with intense pain and shortness of breath, while others start slowly and the symptoms are mild in comparison. Both pose serious risks, including long term hospitalization and death. The key is to know the symptoms, so you notice when they arise.

Symptoms and Early Warning Signs Of a Heart Attack

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.

  • Nausea
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Chest pressure, squeezing or discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling of fullness

Seconds Count: If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack call 911 right away.

Chest Discomfort
Almost all heart attacks involve some chest discomfort. The pain can range from mild to severe. It often includes pressure, heaviness or pain in the chest, arm or below the breastbone. The heart attack 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.

Patient Guides

Know Your Heart Disease Risk:

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.

Understand Your Personal Risk Factors:


Men who are 45 or older and women who are 55 or older have an increased risk of experiencing a heart attack.

Men have a greater risk of heart attack than women do, although heart disease is still the leading cause of death for both men and women.

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.

How To Reduce Your Heart Attack Risk:

  • 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.