Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

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Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

As a man ages, he must be aware of both typical and atypical heart attack signs and symptoms. Early treatment is essential to both short-term and long-term survival. The most important factor in survival when a heart attack occurs is early defibrillation. Defibrillation involves delivering a therapeutic electrical shock to the heart and can be lifesaving if it is performed in time.

Heart Attack Signs

Typical Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

The major typical symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain and shortness of breath.1 The pain may or may not be severe and may or may not radiate to the arms or back. These ancillary features depend on the size and location of the heart muscle death, and their absence should not prevent one from calling 911. 

Atypical Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

Atypical symptoms of a heart attack may include anxiety, sweating, cough, light-headedness, nausea +/- vomiting, and wheezing. Patients also commonly complain of feeling indigestion when they are in fact having a heart attack.

Patients also may have warning signs of tiredness, mild chest discomfort, and feeling ill prior to a typical heart attack.

What To Do If You Think You’re Having a Heart Attack?

Ambulance

CALL 911!!! A Heart Attack is an Emergency.

The most important factor in survival after a heart attack occurs is early defibrillation. Defibrillation involves delivering a therapeutic electrical shock to the heart with a defibrillator to stop a potentially life-threatening dysrhythmia. The sooner EMS arrives, the sooner emergency personnel can defibrillate the patient and transport him or her to the hospital for life-saving interventions. Providers have only a few hours from the initial onset of heart attack symptoms to restore blood flow to the damaged heart muscle.

EMG Health Homepage: Men’s Health Introduction

External Resources: NIH: Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

1. Zafari M. Myocardial Infarction. http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/155919-overview#aw2aab6b2b6aa: Medscape Reference; 2012.