Many People Believe That All Heart Attacks Involve Sudden, Severe Chest Pain.
But nothing could be further from the truth.
Although it’s true that chest pain is the classic sign of a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction (MI), it occurs in only about half of all cases. For those without chest pain, an MI may announce itself with symptoms such as breathlessness, extreme exhaustion, nausea and sweating—either alone or in combination. Furthermore, many heart attacks begin gradually instead of suddenly, with symptoms coming and going over several hours. In fact, an impending MI can masquerade for days as unexplained back pain or indigestion until it ends in a life-threatening crisis. For this reason, it’s essential to become acquainted with the warning signs of a heart attack, including those less commonly known. In addition to chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, be alert for any of the following symptoms and seek immediate medical care if you or a loved one experience them.
Heart Attack Symptoms
- Arm pain or numbness
- Shortness of breath
- Unexplained sweating
- Nausea and vomiting
- Light-headedness or dizziness
- Feeling tired and weak
- Jaw or neck pain
- Abnormal heart beats
- Back pain
Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) is a Medical Emergency
If you think you may be experiencing a heart attack, it is important to call 9-1-1 right away so that treatment can start as soon as possible. Do not drive yourself or wait for a ride from a friend or family member. Have an ambulance take you to a hospital that is a cardiac receiving center right away.
Designated Cardiac Receiving Centers
Prevention Remains the Best Medicine
Although angioplasty and other interventional therapies can stop a heart attack in its tracks if performed early enough, prevention remains the best medicine. A healthy lifestyle combined with regular physical exams, cholesterol tests, periodic electrocardiograms and other measures to monitor heart health are the best defense against cardiovascular problems.
Heart Prevention for Women
When it comes to the heart, research indicates that women must be approached differently than men. Design just for women, we offer comprehensive heart evaluations, focusing on early detection and prevention to improve women’s life-long health and well-being.