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Heart attack symptoms everyone should know

heart attack 2Would you recognise the symptoms of a heart attack if someone around you was having one? Heart disease has become one of the most common killers among both men and women and is striking victims who are considerably younger than the patients earlier. Therefore it has become vital for every individual to be able to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack.

You should also know that heart attacks can occur anywhere including when you're resting, after a sudden increase in physical activity, if you're active outside in cold weather, when you suffer from severe emotional or physical stress. A heart attack is a medical emergency and should be treated as such. Here are the symptoms:

Chest pain

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The pain might stay in your chest or it may from your chest to different parts of the body like your arms, shoulder, neck, teeth, belly area or back. The pain can be severe or mild. It can feel like:

  • A tight band around the chest
  • Bad indigestion
  • Something heavy sitting on your chest
  • Squeezing or heavy pressure

Other symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Anxiety
  • Cough
  • Fainting
  • Light-headedness, dizziness
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating too fast or irregularly)
  • Sweating, which may be very heavy
  • Difficulty in breathing

Watch out for the non-classic symptoms

Some women and people with diabetes do not have classic symptoms. Women usually have no severe chest pain, but a general weakness and discomfort which leads to them not being treated aggressively enough. Also, most diabetics develop atypical symptoms like profuse sweating or loss of consciousness during a heart attack which may be misinterpreted as symptoms of low sugar in the body. Sometimes heart attack is diagnosed during investigations like ECG or echocardiography even though you may not have had any history of chest pain. Such silent heart problems are a major challenge because they progress rapidly towards heart failure. Read why more and more women are suffering from heart disease

Women too have to be on the watch out because they don't experience the 'classic' symptoms of a heart attack. Some common symptoms in women are:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the centre of your chest. These pains are infrequent and come and go.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.
  • 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.

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