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What are the most common signs of a stroke or heart attack?

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The most common signs of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, other upper body discomfort and shortness of breath, advises the American Heart Association. Common signs of stroke include numbness or drooping of the face, arm weakness and slurred speech. In both cases the patient needs immediate medical assistance.

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Heart attacks don’t always happen the way most people think, states the American Heart Association. Onset of a heart attack may be slow, with the patient feeling fullness or squeezing in the chest rather than sharp, severe pains. This pain may resolve on its own for a time only to recur. Signs of a heart attack may differ in men and women, with women more prone to additional pain or discomfort in the jaws, arms, shoulders, back and stomach. Shortness of breath is a common sign of heart attack for both.

Drooping or numbness on one side of the face is one of the most common signs of stroke, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. This becomes most noticeable when the suspected stroke victim is asked to smile. Problems with speech may present as slurred speech, difficulty speaking or difficulty understanding speech. Arm or leg numbness on one side of the body is another common indicator of stroke, as is the sudden onset of confusion, vision problems or a severe headache without a clear cause.

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