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Heart Disease Health Center

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Understanding Heart Attack: Symptoms

What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

The symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • A crushing, squeezing, or burning pain, pressure, or fullness in the center of the chest; the pain may radiate to the neck, one or both arms, the shoulders, or the jaw. The chest discomfort lasts more than a few minutes. It can diminish in intensity and return.
  • Shortness of breath, dizziness
  • Nausea, heartburn, or upset stomach
  • Sweating or feeling "the chills"
  • A weak, fast pulse
  • An irregular heart beat
  • Cold, clammy skin, or a gray color to the face
  • Fainting or loss of consciousness
  • Fatigue

You may not feel all of these symptoms. Some people experience no symptoms -- this is called silent ischemia.

Understanding Heart Attacks

Find out more about heart attacks:



Diagnosis and Treatment


Women may have different symptoms of a heart attack than men. They may not experience chest pain but have other symptoms, such as pain high in the abdomen, jaw, back, or neck or non-pain symptoms like shortness of breath or fatigue.

Call 911 Immediately About a Heart Attack if:

  • You or someone else shows signs of a heart attack. Seek emergency help right away, without delay.
  • Your angina (chest pain) no longer responds to medication. This may indicate that a heart attack is beginning.
  • Your angina attacks become more frequent, prolonged, and severe. As angina worsens the risk of heart attack increases.

Call Your Doctor About a Heart Attack if:

  • You are taking aspirin to prevent heart attack and your stool appears black and tarry. This may indicate gastrointestinal bleeding and could be a sign that aspirin has thinned your blood too much, problems that can and should be corrected.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on February 28, 2015

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