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Heart Attack Symptoms

The first symptom of a heart attack is usually angina (heart pain). However, in a heart attack, the angina may occur unpredictably (even when you are resting), may not go away with medical treatment, and last longer than just a few minutes. Symptoms of a heart attack vary from person to person and can include:

  • Chest pain (heavy uncomfortable pressure, fullness, or squeezing pain)
  • Mild or severe pain in the arms, shoulders, back, neck or jaw
  • Vague discomfort or indigestion
  • Difficulty breathing
  • "Cold sweat"
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Weakness or fatigue
  • Anxiety

Some people have no symptoms or very mild symptoms (this is known as "silent MI").  Women often have symptoms that are quite different than men, and may experience more shortness of breath, or pain that is less “typical” than men. One serious complication of heart attack is cardiogenic shock. This occurs when the heart is too damaged to pump enough blood to the brain and other vital organs. The cause of chest pain can be hard to pinpoint. Seeing a doctor promptly is the best way to diagnose and treat a heart attack.

IMPORTANT: Call 911 right away if you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack.