Heart attack warning signs are often not what you think. Symptoms vary and they may not always be severe. Learn the warning signs, because the sooner you recognise your heart attack and get treatment, the better. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.
But their are signs and symptoms that are sometimes indicative of a poor cardiac state and a likely heart attack in future. If people recognize these warning signs of heart attack, they can often prevent a heart attack from taking place at all! A heart attack—medically known as myocardial infarction, happens when a blood clot blocks flow of blood to the heart. There are many things that can contribute to a heart attack, including age, heredity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, poor diet, alcohol consumption, stress, and physical inactivity. Managing these factors can help lower the risk of an impeding heart attack.
Signs & Symptoms of Heart Attack in Men and Women
Fatigue & Shortness of Breath
Exhaustion and shortness of breath are two ways your body tells you it needs rest, but it can also be a sign of heart trouble as a response to the extra stress on your heart. If you often feel tired or exhausted for no reason, it could be a sign that something is wrong. Fatigue and shortness of breath may begin months before a heart attack.
Sweating more than usual, especially if you aren’t exercising or being active, could be an early warning sign of heart problems. Pumping blood through clogged arteries takes more effort from your heart, so your body will sweat more to try to keep your body temperature down during the extra exertion. If you experience cold sweats or clammy skin, then you should consult your doctor.
Indigestion, Nausea, & Vomiting
Often people begin experiencing mild indigestion and other gastrointestinal problems before a heart attack. Some people even have pain in abdomen instead of pain in chest. These symptoms often get dismissed as heartburn or another food-related complication. If you suddenly feel nausea and giddiness, get examined by your physician as soon as possible.
Chest Pain, Pressure, & 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.
Pains Other Than Chest Pain
During a Heart attack pain and tightness can also radiate in other areas of the body. Most people associate a heart attack with pain working its way down the left arm but pain can also appear in other locations, including upper abdomen, shoulder (common with posterior wall MI), back, throat, teeth or jaw.
According to American Heart Organization:
“As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.”
If you (men / women) have any such symptoms, you should consult your physician at the earliest possible for a thorough checkup. If you are at risk for heart attack and heart disease, it is important to make smart choices with your diet, exercise, and stress management.