What Are Symptoms of a Heart Attack?


Quick Answer

Some common symptoms of a heart attack include shortness of breath, chest discomfort or pain in other parts of the body, dizziness, abnormal sweating, nausea, vomiting, coughing or wheezing, excessive feeling of anxiety and an extended sense of tiredness, according to NHS Choices. Any sudden change in symptoms, such as sustained nausea or wheezing, could be a symptom of a heart attack.

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What Are Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
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Full Answer

Most heart attack cases are characterized by a sharp pain in the center or left part of the chest that feels like heartburn or squeezing. It is also common to feel the pain spreading to other body parts, including hands, shoulders, head and stomach. According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, women are more likely to experience nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, abnormal tiredness and back pains.

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.

It is imperative to call for help as soon as any of these symptoms manifest, even if one is not sure. For people who have had a heart attack in the past, subsequent attacks may not manifest similar symptoms. Nonetheless, some individuals may have a recurring pattern of symptoms. Heart attack symptoms can be vague and mild or intense and sudden, depending on the individual, according to the NHLBI.

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