Warning Signs of Heart Attack

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The American Heart Association has identified several warning signs of a heart attack. A person having a heart attack may not experience all of the warning signs and warning signs can come and go. >Anyone who experiences these symptoms or witnesses someone experiencing these symptoms should call immediately for emergency medical assistance (i.e., call 9-1-1).

Common warning signs of a heart attack include the following:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
  • Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck, or arms
  • Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath

Less common warning signs of heart attack include the following:

  • Atypical chest, stomach, or abdominal pain
  • Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain)
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (without chest pain)
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or fatigue
  • Palpitations, cold sweat, or paleness

Publication Review By: Stanley J. Swierzewski, III, M.D.

Published: 01 Jul 2000

Last Modified: 18 Sep 2015