Recognizing the signs of a heart attack

You might think that a heart attack is easy to identify with chest-clenching pain and numbness in the left arm. However, heart attack symptoms can vary dramatically from patient to patient, so you may not know to seek emergency care when some of these signs appear. Women are particularly prone to ignoring the signs of a heart attack, and this is a primary reason that heart disease remains the No. 1 killer of women in the United States. Read on to better understand what you should look for when you suspect a heart attack.

Chest pain

Many patients to experience chest pain, but the nature of this pain is not the same for everyone. Pain may be accompanied by pressure or squeezing, and it can last for several minutes or occur in waves.

Discomfort in the upper body

Women tend to experience soreness and discomfort in the jaw, back, arms or shoulders during a heart attack. These symptoms may also be present in male patients, but they tend to be more pronounced in women.

Stomach pain or nausea

Heart attack may be confused with flu or other minor illnesses, because it can cause nausea or stomach ache. When these symptoms occur suddenly and are accompanied by other signs, it is best to seek medical attention right away.

Shortness of breath

Tightness in the chest may lead to trouble breathing or shortness of breath. Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest pain, lightheadedness or cold sweats.

If you suspect that you are having a heart attack, you should call 911 right away. For prevention and screening to reduce your risk, connect with Edward Heart Hospital at 630-527-3000 or online. 

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