Virginia Health Information
 
Home > Virginia Hospitals > Cardiac Care > Heart Attack Warning Signs


Do you think you might be having a heart attack? In doubt?
Don’t delay! Call 9-1-1 fast. Time matters in your survival!

Heart Attack Stroke and Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs Here are the warning signs from the American Heart Association:

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
  • 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.
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.

American Heart Association: Heart Attack, Stroke and Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs   (view in Pdf)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Heart Attack Publications