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Heart & Vascular

Heart Attack Symptoms




Chest Discomfort or Pain

A sensation of discomfort or pain that may feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.

Upper Body Pain

Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to other areas in your upper body like your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may experience upper body pain with no chest discomfort.

Stomach Pain

Pain may also extend down into your abdominal area and can feel like heartburn.

Shortness of Breath

You may find yourself panting for breath or trying to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest pain.


You may feel a sense of dread or feel like you’re having a panic attack for no apparent reason.


You may feel dizzy or that you might pass out.


You may become suddenly sweaty with cold, clammy skin.


You may feel that you are sick to your stomach or might vomit.


Heart attack symptoms vary widely. For instance, you may only experience minor chest pain while someone else has severe pain.

One thing applies to everyone, though: If you think you’re having a heart attack, contact emergency medical help immediately. Don’t waste time trying to diagnose a heart attack yourself.

Additional heart attack symptoms in women:

A woman may have all of the heart attack symptoms, or none. She may have a lot of symptoms, or only a few. However, for women the most common heart attack symptom is still some form of chest pain, pressure or discomfort. But women are more likely than men to have heart attack symptoms without chest pain, such as:

  • Neck, jaw, shoulder, upper back or abdominal discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Abdominal pain or "heartburn"
  • Sweating
  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Unusual or unexplained fatigue

Get help quickly. If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack call 911 right away. Approximately half of the people who die from heart attacks pass away within one hour of their first symptom. Many patients have symptoms related to heart attack but never get a chance to present to the hospital because they wait too long. When in doubt, call 911.


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