heart attack symptoms

TV and movies often show a heart attack victim clutching his chest in pain, but this portrayal may be misleading. Heart attack symptoms don?t always follow a set pattern, and they don?t always include the classic chest pain. Women especially are more likely to have atypical heart attack symptoms. Anyone who is at risk for a heart attack because of obesity, high blood pressure and cholesterol, high blood sugar, or smoking should be vigilant for other types of symptoms, too.

A heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart is cut off, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs to pump effectively. Without oxygen, the affected heart section or sections begin to die. A heart attack is a medical emergency, and it requires immediate care.

Heart attack symptoms can differ, depending on the person. The most common symptom is chest pain, but it can take many forms?including squeezing, pressure, and burning. Sometimes the chest pain mimics heartburn. The pain can be mild or severe, and it can continue steadily or come and go. Another heart condition, angina, can also produce chest pain. The difference is that angina pain should let up after a few minutes, while heart attack pain continues.

Shortness of breath is another typical heart attack symptom. The difficulty breathing may happen alone, or with chest pain. You might have trouble breathing while doing exercise, or while you?re sitting still.

Sometimes heart attack symptoms involve a pain that radiates through the arms, back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach. Other possible heart attack symptoms to watch out for are fatigue, nausea and vomiting, dizziness, and a cold sweat.

If you?re not sure whether you?re having a heart attack or something else is wrong, call 9-1-1 or visit a hospital emergency room just to be on the safe side. If it is a heart attack, the sooner you get treated the better chance you?ll have of surviving.

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