Tags: heart | attack | warning | signs

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

By    |   Monday, 15 Dec 2014 05:03 PM

More than 720,000 Americans have heart attacks every year, and about 600,000 die from heart disease during the same period, making it the leading cause of death for both men and women, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The most common and well-known warning sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, as well as pain that radiates down the left arm, according to the American Heart Association.

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But there are other, lesser known symptoms that should trigger a warning for individuals to either go directly to the hospital or see a doctor. The AHA lists the following symptoms of a heart attack:
  • 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 may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
Although women are likely to have chest pain or discomfort, the AHA said they are more likely than men to have the additional heart attack signs, such as nausea and vomiting, shortness of breath, and back or jaw pain.

WebMD expands on the list to include: 
  • Anxiety – Calling it an “intense” feeling of anxiety or fear of death, WebMD said, “Heart attack can cause intense anxiety or a fear of death. Heart attack survivors often talk about having experienced a sense of ‘impending doom.’”
  • Fatigue – In the days and weeks leading up to the heart attack, people — especially women — report that they felt tired, which is also a symptom of heart failure.
  • Rapid or irregular pulse – Although an occasional skipped heartbeat is normal, WebMD said a rapid or irregular pulse, especially if other symptoms like shortness of breath, can be evidence of a more concerning heart problem. “Left untreated, some arrhythmias can lead to stroke, heart failure, or sudden death.”
  • Swelling – Heart failure can cause fluid to accumulate, causing swelling in feet, legs, or hands.
  • Weakness – Some people have told their doctors that they felt “severe, unexplained weakness,” WebMD said. "One woman told me it felt like she couldn't hold a piece of paper between her fingers," said one doctor.
The CDC reported that while most people recognized chest pain as a heart attack symptom, only 27 percent knew the other symptoms. Since about 47 percent of heart attack deaths occur outside the hospital, it’s important to call 911 or get to a hospital if you have any concerns.

This article is for information only and is not intended as medical advice. Talk with your doctor about your specific health and medical needs.

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The most common and well-known warning sign of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort, as well as pain that radiates down the left arm, according to the American Heart Association. But there are other, lesser known symptoms that should trigger a warning for individuals.
heart, attack, warning, signs
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2014-03-15
Monday, 15 Dec 2014 05:03 PM
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