What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?


Quick Answer

The symptoms of an acute myocardial infarction vary by patient and by case. The most common symptom of a heart attack is pressure or pain in the chest that sometimes radiates outward into the arm, jaw, lower abdomen or back. According to Mayo Clinic, the pain of a heart attack might briefly diminish only to come back with greater severity.

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What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
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Full Answer

In addition to pain, heart attacks often cause anxiety and a feeling of impending doom. Patients may experience a pronounced shortness of breath and dizziness as well as profound fatigue that indicates inadequate perfusion of oxygen through the body. Sometimes, patients experience severe nausea and may vomit repeatedly. Common skin signs of a heart attack, according to Mayo Clinic, include cold sweat, clamminess and pallor. Depending on the stage of the heart attack, the patient's pulse might be racing or bounding as the heart struggles to provide adequate cardiac output. These symptoms are variable, and a person suffering from a heart attack may experience all or some of them to varying degrees. In rare cases, most or all of the classic symptoms of a heart attack are either mild or totally absent. Any suspicion of a heart attack must be treated as a medical emergency, as a definitive diagnosis can only be made by a medical practitioner.

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