Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most of them start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort. But it can also occur without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
If you or someone you’re with has one or more of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately. Get to the hospital right away.
If you’re the one having symptoms, and you can’t access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. Don’t drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.
For more information, contact your nearest American Heart Association office or call 1-800-AHA-USA1 (1-800-242-8721) or online at www.heart.org.