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Infographic from the CDC

Most people have this belief that a heart attack stats with a sudden pain to the chest as it has been shown in many movies. One study has shown that almost a third of all people who have heat attacks never experience chest pains. These patients are usually older, diabetic or female. These means that most people who have a heart attack are caught unawares and only realize too late when there is little that can be done to save their lives.

Heart attack symptoms do vary from one person to another, some people experience very few symptoms and they are the ones who are more likely to be surprised to learn that they have had a heart attack. It is therefore important to clearly know the symptoms of a heart attack and understand the following facts;

  1. A heart attack can start slowly, causing mild pain and discomfort and these may happen over a range of time.
  2. People who may have diabetes may experience mild symptoms.
  3. The mostly common symptoms across the genders is chest pain
  4. For women, other common symptoms may be back pains, shortness of breath, tiredness, vomiting, and pain in the back, shoulders and jaws.
  5. Some people may experience no heart attacks at all and these are referred to as silent heart attacks.

Most common symptoms

The most common symptoms of a heart attack in both men and women are;

  • Chest pain and discomfort

Most heart attacks are known to cause pain in the left side of the chest and at times in the center. The discomfort may last for a few minutes then decapitates and later comes back. It may feel like pressure, pain, squeezing or fullness. It may also feel like an indigestion or heart burn. These feeling might be severe for some people or just mild.

  • Upper body discomfort

One or both arms may start experiencing some pain, the arms, shoulders, jaws or upper part of the stomach may also experience discomfort

  • Shortness of breath

Sometimes this may be your only symptom or it may be coupled with chest pains and discomfort. These happens when you are doing some light physical activity or even just resting.

It’s also good to not those symptoms of angina or coronary heart disease may be similar to those of a heart attack as they also involve chest pains. Pain cause by angina only occurs when someone is doing physical activity and later goes away when they’ve rested. Therefore when you experience chest pain that does not go away even when you have rested, these might be a sign of a heart attack and you may need immediate medical attention.

Other common symptoms of heart attack

Please note these other possible signs of a heart attack;

  1. Experiencing fatigue for no good reason
  2. Breaking a cold sweat
  3. Nausea or even vomiting
  4. Dizziness or light headedness
  5. Sudden shift of your usual symptoms i.e. they become stronger or last longer.

Not everyone may experience these symptoms, however most people experience a pattern of symptoms and it is always good to be aware of the. The more the sign or the stronger they become, the more the possibility that you may be having a heart attack.

Since the symptoms last for different times depending on the person, it is advisable to take action immediately you feel that you have a heart attack, call the emergency services even when you are not sure you are having a heart attack. EMS personnel have lifesaving equipment in the ambulances so it is better to have an ambulance take you to the hospital.

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