Key Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

The warning signs of a heart attack may be different than you think. A heart attack can happen without the obvious chest or arm pain symptoms.

Especially for women, signs of heart disease can be less obvious, and symptoms of a heart attack can be hard to decipher.

Heart attacks, also called myocardial infarctions, affect someone every 40 seconds in The United States. When the heart does not get enough blood, the heart is deprived of oxygen and nutrients. This causes a heart attack, possible permanent damage, and can obviously be deadly.

The sooner you obtain medical treatment for a heart attack, the more likely the outcome will be positive. Seeking immediate medical treatment is a must.

Risk Factors for a Heart Attack

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary heart disease when plaque builds up in the arteries that supply blood to the heart. Other risk factors include:

·      high blood pressure
·      high cholesterol
·      genetic predisposition
·      age
·      obesity
·      stress
·      lack of exercise

Chest Pain and Discomfort 

Chest pain has been found to be the most common symptom for both men and women according to numerous studies like this one from the Journal of the American Heart Association. 

For women, chest pain is often described a pressure on the chest, tightness, or squeezing, while men tend to describe a heavy weighted feeling on their chest.

Other Heart Attack Symptoms 

Many people experience a range of different heart attack symptoms other than chest or arm pain. Pain can radiate to other areas of the body while having a heart attack, so pay attention to pain in areas such as your:

·      teeth or jaw
·      upper abdomen
·      back
·      neck or throat


Excessive sweating, especially while you are not being active, can be an early sign of a heart attack. When blood must work harder to be pumped through clogged arteries, your body may sweat to keep its temperature down while exerting itself.

Night sweats are also a common sign of heart issues, especially for women.

Fatigue, Shortness of Breath, and Dizziness 

A heart attack can cause excessive exhaustion or fatigue symptoms, particularly in women. Shortness of breath and fatigue can begin months before a heart attack and are both more likely to be heart attack symptoms for women. Lightheadedness and dizziness are also common heart attack signs.

Heart Palpitations 

Experiencing heart palpitations can range from the feeling of your heart skipping a beat, excessive pounding, or even a sensation of your heart beating in areas like your neck.

Your heart must beat in a consistent manner for your survival, and if you are experiencing an irregular heartbeat, this can be a sign of heart issues.

Indigestion, nausea, and vomiting

A common heart attack symptom that is often overlooked is stomach issues. People often experience mild indigestion or other gastrointestinal issues before having a heart attack.

It is important to seek medical treatment immediately if you are experiencing heart attack symptoms.