Do You Know the Signs of a Heart Attack?

January 18, 2022
Do You Know the Signs of a Heart Attack?

If you are concerned about your heart health, contact the Guthrie Cardiac and Vascular team. We have the most experienced medical and interventional cardiologists and cardiac and vascular surgeons in the area.

Our team also includes advanced practice providers, nurses, therapists, and diagnostic technicians, all trained in specialized care for your heart. We also have cardiac rehabilitation programs in:

  • Cortland, N.Y.
  • Erwin, N.Y. 
  • Sayre, Pa.
  • Towanda, Pa.
  • Troy, Pa.

Whether you are recovering from a heart attack or trying to prevent one, make an appointment with a Guthrie cardiologist using one of our convenient options:

Recognizing when your symptoms may be serious can save your life.

Would you know if you were having a heart attack?

No two heart attacks are alike. Heart attacks may cause sudden, intense pain or pressure in the center of the chest. They may also come on more slowly with little or no pain, but cause vague symptoms such as weakness or indigestion. These are the symptoms that people may ignore. Additionally, a woman's symptoms may differ from a man's symptoms.

Some symptoms of other health conditions may mimic a heart attack, such as gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), chest muscle pain or anxiety. That can make it difficult to know when your symptoms are heart-related.

Knowing the symptoms of a heart attack can help you act quicker when a heart attack does occur. In a study of more than 2,000 heart attack patients, people who recognized heart attack symptoms early and received medical attention within 90 minutes had far better outcomes than those who waited for treatment.

When every second counts, it's important to know the signs of a heart attack. If you or someone you are with is experiencing these symptoms, call 911 immediately.

Symptoms common in men and women:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back 
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body, such as in one or both arms or the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness

Symptoms more common in women than men:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Back or jaw pain

Women may also experience:

  • Dizziness
  • Sense of impending doom
  • Extreme weakness or fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or fainting
  • Indigestion or gas-like pain
  • Pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen
  • Upper back pressure/pain between shoulder blades

Taking the following steps can help reduce your risk of having a heart attack. The American Heart Association® recommends the following:

  • Visit your doctor routinely to get screened for heart disease and factors that may influence your heart disease risk, such as blood pressure, cholesterol and blood glucose numbers
  • Exercise regularly (get your doctor's approval first)
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet
  • If you smoke, quit

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Date Last Reviewed: July 20, 2021

Editorial Review: Andrea Cohen, Editorial Director, Baldwin Publishing, Inc. Contact Editor

Medical Review: Perry Pitkow, MD

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