13 Signs and symptoms of a heart attack Some heart attack sufferers report severe chest pain, while others only feel some chest discomfort. And about one-third of heart attack sufferers do not feel any chest pain at all. Other symptoms besides chest pain are also common during heart attacks. These include: • Pain in the left arm • Pain that radiates down one or both arms • Back, neck, jaw or stomach pain • Shortness of breath • Nausea or vomiting • Dizziness or fainting • Breaking out in a cold sweat • Severe headache—especially in older adults • Anxiety, weakness or a strong feeling of doom Like men, women most commonly have chest pain or discomfort as a heart attack symptom. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, back pain or jaw pain. Don’t wait to act It’s vital to get prompt treatment for a heart attack. Whenever you or a loved one experiences heart attack symptoms, use the following steps as a guideline: • Chew an uncoated aspirin tablet as a protective Signs of a Heart Attack For both men and women, many heart attacks start as pain or discomfort in the center of the chest. Women are a little more likely than men to have other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Common signs of heart attack include: • Chest discomfort, such as pain, aching, tightness, or pressure that lasts more than a few minutes, or that comes and goes • Pain or discomfort in the stomach, one or both arms, back, shoulder, neck, or jaw • Shortness of breath • Sweating (often a cold, clammy sweat), nausea, lightheadedness • If chest discomfort only lasts for a few minutes, you might be having an angina attack. Fast-acting nitroglycerin can usually stop this. If nitroglycerin does not relieve your discomfort within 5 minutes, call 911. You could be having a heart attack. Signs of a Stroke • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arms, or legs, especially on one side • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause If You Think You’re Having a Heart Attack or Stroke Get help right away if you have the symptoms described above. In some cases, medication can stop a heart attack or stroke and even reverse some of the damage. For best results, these medications need to be used as soon as possible. If you have heart attack or stroke symptoms: • Call 911 or have someone else call. Do NOT try to drive yourself to the hospital. • Take nitroglycerin if it has been prescribed (heart attack symptoms only). Take aspirin if your doctor directed you to do so. • Wait for help to arrive. Unlock your door if you can. • Rest in a comfortable position. Loosen tight clothing. • Don’t panic or run around. • Don’t ignore the signs or tell yourself they will pass. © 2013 ABC, FH Foundation, and Krames StayWel . All rights reserved. A pAtient resource guide Acute Coronary Syndrome: Stroke and Heart Attack Prevention P854_ABC_FH_ACS_Stroke_HeartAttack_Prevention_GTG.indd 1 6/14/13 2:30 PM P854 SignsHeartAttack.indd 1 6/17/13 3:35 PM Signs of a Heart Attack Click here to download and print this helpful information about heart attack signs and symptoms. step against heart damage. • If the symptoms stop after a short time, call your healthcare provider. He or she will tell you what action to take. • If symptoms continue for more than 15 minutes, call emergency medical services right away.
P854 Acute Coronary Syndrome
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