The Signs of a Heart Attack May Not Be Obvious Here’s What You Need to Know


Did you know you that it’s possible to have a heart attack without knowing it? With U.S. men and women having a heart attack about once every 40 seconds and cardiovascular disease (CVD) being the leading cause of death in the country, it is important to know the warning signs–all of them! Here are the telltale warning signs and less common indicators. Keeping these in mind could save your life!

Let’s Start With the Basics

Here are a few of the most common symptoms:

  • Chest Pain
  • “Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return,” The American Heart Association (AHA) writes. “It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.” Even if your pain comes and goes, if you think you may be having a heart attack, it is important to call 911 or contact the appropriate healthcare services.

  • Upper Body Discomfort
  • Tell-tale chest pain may not be your only symptom. Your neck, shoulders, arms, back, and/or stomach may hurt as well.

  • Breathing Difficulties
  • Can’t breathe? That’s a sign you need emergency care. Whether or not you are having a heart attack, being unable to breathe or having extreme difficulty breathing is not a symptom you should ignore.

  • Cold Sweat, Nausea and Vomiting, and/or Dizziness

The Signs Are Different For Men and Women

Women suffering from a heart attack or myocardial infarction may not experience the same symptoms as men. According to U.S. News and World Report, “It’s less likely for women than men to have crushing chest pain.” Plus, “Women can experience extreme fatigue, pain in the extremities, vomiting or even toothaches.”

Other women have mistook heart attacks for severe acid reflux or extreme, unrelenting stomach pains. One woman, according to the AHA, even described her experience as understated as “flu-like symptoms.” If you believe you’re having a heart attack, please trust your instincts. Healthcare services can help you determine the source of your pain, and it is wise and prudent to err on the side of caution.

What is a “Silent Heart Attack”?

A silent heart attack is a heart attack that presents with less severe symptoms. The scary thing is that these heart attacks account for nearly half–or 46%–of all heart attacks in U.S. men and women. Silent myocardial infarctions (SMIs) “can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem,” according to Havard-Affiliated Doctor Jorge Plutzy. Similarly to women’s symptoms, SMIs may feel like heartburn, fatigue, or even neck aches and sore throats.

Unfortunately, many men and women go weeks–or months!–without knowing they experienced a SMI. Typically, SMIs are detected much later by blood tests or echocardiograms (EKGs) performed for unrelated or seemingly unrelated conditions. With over 7,357 urgent care centers in the 2016 and that number continually growing, there are no shortage of urgent care centers, emergency rooms, or hybrid centers to help treat you.

The most important takeaway from this information is: please do not hesitate to seek out healthcare services. There are many telltale signs of heart attacks. You may feel like someone is sitting on your chest or squeezing your heart in a vice, or you may not feel symptoms like that at all. If you are a woman or if you are suffering from a SMI, it’s very possible that heart attack symptoms may feel like the flu, fatigue, indigestion, or heartburn. Healthcare professionals are there to help you determine whether or not you are having a heart attack, and ease your discomfort on matter what the case may be.

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