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Heart Attack Symptoms

During a heart attack, timely care improves your outcome. Learn how to recognize and quickly respond to early symptoms—so you can potentially help save a life.

Early Signs of Heart Attack

At first, heart attack symptoms can feel mild and may come and go. Pay attention to these signs in yourself or a loved one:

  • Back pain
  • Chest pressure, squeezing, or discomfort
  • Excessive fatigue
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Shortness of breath

Less Common Symptoms

Occasionally, these symptoms may suggest heart attack:

  • Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body
  • Sharp, knife-like chest pain when coughing or breathing

Men’s & Women’s Symptoms May Differ

When you understand how men and women experience heart attacks differently, you can better identify and respond to symptoms. Know that women more often feel:

  • Exhaustion
  • Nausea
  • Pain or numbness on the right side of the body
  • Stomach pain that feels like the flu, heartburn, or an ulcer
  • Upper back pain that travels into the jaw

Respond Quickly

Call 911 right away if you notice heart attack symptoms in yourself or someone else. An ambulance may take you to Johnston Health’s accredited chest pain centers for prompt, excellent care.

If someone collapses after showing signs of a heart attack, start hands-only cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) to increase their likelihood of survival.

Risk Factors for Heart Attack

Talk to your doctor about ways to address these heart attack risk factors:

Call 911

Reduce damage from a heart attack or cardiac arrest by calling 911 immediately.

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