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How can you tell if you are having a heart attack?

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Quick Answer

Typical symptoms of a heart attack include chest discomfort or pain, shortness of breath, upper body pain, stomach pain, anxiety, lightheadedness, sweating, nausea and vomiting. The symptoms that are experienced by one individual can vary immensely from those experienced by another. For instance, one person may have excruciating pain in the chest while another may experience only mild discomfort, according to Mayo Clinic.

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Full Answer

The chest discomfort or pain felt during a heart attack may feel like pressure, fullness, a tight ache or a squeezing pain. The pain generally lasts more than a few minutes, and it may come and go. Pain may also radiate beyond the chest area to the neck, back, arms, shoulders, jaw or even the teeth. It is possible to have pain in the upper body without having chest pain during a heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic. The pain can also extend into the abdominal region and may be similar to the pain felt when experiencing heartburn.

Many people report feeling anxiety or an overwhelming sense of doom or panic during a heart attack. The Mayo Clinic reports that dizziness or a feeling that one might pass out often accompanies a heart attack. Those experiencing a heart attack may be short of breath and may labor to take in air. Sweating is common, and the skin may feel cold and clammy. A feeling of nausea may engulf the person, and she may vomit. Whenever a heart attack is suspected, a health care provider should be contacted immediately.

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