Common Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack

Man drinking water after exercising for heart health
Heart attack, which is also called Myocardial Infarction (MI) happens when there is a block in the blood flow to the heart muscle and a section of the heart muscle can’t get enough oxygen. According to CDC, every year, about 805,000 people in the United States have heart attacks.
Knowing signs and symptoms and early detection can help in treatment and recovery, because the more time passes without treatment, the greater the damage to the heart muscles is done.
Signs and Symptoms
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort to the chest. The most common symptoms in men and women are chest pain, but women can have different symptoms too.
The signs and symptoms vary from person to person, but these are some of the most common signs and symptoms that are found in both men and women.
Chest Pain or Discomfort
This is the most common symptom and may last for a minute or more, or it may go away and then return. It feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, heaviness, or pain in your chest or below your breastbone.
Left Arm Pain
In men, the left arm pain will move from the shoulder down the left arm or up to the chin. They are sudden and severe and are often accompanied by pressure or squeezing in the chest.
In women, the pain can be subtler. It can radiate to the right or left arm. It can involve the chin, shoulder blades, and even the upper back.
Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath can sometimes be an accompanying symptom of unusual fatigue in women. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
Feeling Weak or Lightheaded
Lightheadedness can be a symptom of a heart attack or stroke. Lightheadedness is when your body may feel heavy while your head feels as if it is not getting enough blood. You may also have clouded vision and loss of balance.
Sweating Profusely
Since there is a block in the heart and it is difficult to pump blood to the body, the body uses more energy and cools itself down, which makes one sweat abnormally.
Night sweats are also common in women but older women may confuse it with one of the symptoms of menopause, which needs immediate medical attention to rule out the pathology.
Heart Palpitations
When the heart is lacking supply of nutrient-filled blood, all sorts of things can happen in the body, which leads to the sensation of heart palpitations.
Not all heart attacks are sudden and this could be one of the symptoms of a slow heart attack. If you feel like you’re having heart palpitations, make sure you contact your doctor right away.
Here are some of the signs and symptoms that are more common in women:
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Pain in one or both the arms
  • Discomfort in your gut, which may feel like indigestion
  • Discomfort in the neck, shoulder, upper back, and/or jaw
  • Dizziness and lightheadedness
The most common mistake that people do is, that even after experiencing the above symptom(s), they wait for it to go away, thinking it is not much of a concern.
Whether they are related to heart attack or not, getting immediate medical attention is very important, as you can prevent further complications. If you are experiencing any of the above symptom(s), then call 911 without missing a beat and do not drive yourself to the emergency room.
Carolina Regional Orthopaedics provides the most effective, modern, and innovative techniques in both Orthopedic Surgery and Pain Management using proven methodologies in both the surgical and non-surgical treatment of all conditions affecting the spine, upper extremities, and lower extremities. We specialize in hand and wrist surgery, joint replacements, sports medicine, trauma care, pediatric orthopedics, pain management, wound care, regenerative medicine, physical therapy, imaging services, and EMG testing.