How to Spot a Heart Attack - Walk with a Wheaton Doc | Wheaton Franciscan Healthcare - Ascension Wisconsin

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How to Spot a Heart Attack

Cardiovascular disease is the number one cause of death and disability in the U.S. Each year, heart disease kills more Americans than cancer.

If you notice one or more of these signs in yourself, don’t wait. Seek emergency treatment!

  • Chest discomfort – tightness, squeezing, fullness or pain
  • Upper body discomfort, pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath – with or without chest pain
  • Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Sometimes individuals experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack don’t realize the severity of the situation or are diminishing the symptoms. For example:

  • “It must be indigestion.”
  • “If I just lie down awhile I’ll be fine.”

If you notice one or more of the following signs in someone, don’t wait. Seek emergency treatment!

  • Lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, shortness of breath
  • Anxiety, nervousness, cold, sweaty skin
  • Paleness or pallor
  • Increased or irregular heart rate

In the event of cardiopulmonary arrest (no breathing or pulse), call 911 and begin CPR immediately.

Symptoms May be Different in Men & Women

Chest pain doesn't always occur in the chest. With women, chest pain can actually occur in a number of places. Women can experience pain in the arm, back and even teeth that is actually associated with the heart.

Bottom Line: If you are experiencing abnormal pain, contact your physician.

Learn more about signs and symptoms of a heart attack.