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Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in both men and women. But if you don’t know you have it, more than 30 percent of the time a heart attack will be your first symptom.

The signs of a heart attack are different for men and women.  By being aware of these signs, you have a much better chance of surviving one.

Warning Signs for Women

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • Unexplained feelings of anxiety, fatigue or weakness, especially during exertion. 

In addition to the universal symptoms of chest pain or discomfort, women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Warning Signs for Men

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
    Unexplained feelings of anxiety, fatigue or weakness, especially during exertion. 

If you or someone you know experiences any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

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