Heart disease is the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. Therefore, we believe in the importance of helping people understand the signs and symptoms of a life-threatening event, like a heart-attack.
Fortunately, when found early, heart disease can be treated and life-threatening events like a heart attack or stroke can be avoided.
Don't wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs! Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body -- and call 9-1-1 if you feel:
- 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. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs: cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, palpitations, paleness, weakness/fatigue, or dizziness.
Symptoms may vary between men and women
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives -- maybe your own. Don't wait - call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.
- Download the American Heart Association's heart attack warning signs
- Take the EHAC Pledge, promising to call 911 if you or someone you know experiences heart attack symptoms
- Watch an animation of a heart attack from the American Heart Association.
Get help quick
Remember to call 9-1-1 if you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency. Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. EMS staff are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.