Symptoms of a minor heart attack include chest pain, upper body discomfort and shortness of breath, according to the National Institutes of Health. Other signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, tiredness, nausea and dizziness.
Most people don't realize that heart attacks may start slow and cause only mild pain and discomfort, states the NIH. Symptoms may begin mildly and then become suddenly intense. Symptoms may also develop over several hours. Those who have low blood sugar may show no symptoms at all, and women are more likely to experience shortness of breath than men.
Symptoms of a heart attack are similar to angina, which is chest pain related to coronary heart disease, so patients are advised to see their doctors anytime chest pain presents, explains the NIH. It is best to call 911 for emergency services so medications and treatment can begin during the trip to the hospital and the patient can get to the hospital as quickly as possible. Acting quickly is important when experiencing any heart attack symptoms, and patients who arrive at the hospital via ambulance often receive treatment more quickly. In addition, a 911 dispatcher can advise the patient to begin self-treatment, such as taking an aspirin.