What Is A Heart Attack?

A heart attack is an urgent message from your heart that it is not receiving the oxygen it needs. When oxygen-rich blood to your heart is blocked by a clot, heart muscle begins to die and symptoms of a heart attack begin. By getting to the hospital quickly, treatment can be started to help save your heart and your heart muscle.

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in your chest. Treatments are most effective when they occur in the early stages of the episode of chest pain.

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of a heart attack differ between men and women. Here’s what to look for in each:

Men
  • Chest discomfort/pressure
  • Pain in one or both arms, back neck, jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
Women
  • Chest pressure, squeezing sensation radiating into neck, shoulder, or jaw pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Upper abdominal or mid-back pain or discomfort
  • Dizziness

When do I call 911?

If you have one or more of the following symptoms, you should seek medical attention immediately:

  • Chest discomfort/pressure
  • Pain in one or both arms, back neck, jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea

Don’t be afraid to call 9-1-1! If you do not know the cause of your symptoms, assume it is a heart attack. Play it safe and get medical help.

Learn more about the beginnings of a heart attack from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care - Click Here
Think you might be at risk for a heart attack? - Find a Cardiologist Today

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