- Chest Pain
Pain from a heart attack is often wide spread and acute (sudden onset). It probably won’t happen as a result of exertion, but can occur while being active or at rest. Pain is often described differently from pressure or fullness to tingling and sharp.
- Radiating Pain to the Arm
Men are likely to experience a radiating pain to their left arm, while women may experience pain in either or both arms. This pain is directly related to the pain and distress in the chest. You can however, have one without the other.
- Radiating Pain to The Neck or Jaw
Radiating pain in the left side of the neck or jaw is also associated with the distress the heart is going through in the chest. Jaw pain is typically described as tightness or ache in patients with this symptom.
An overwhelming sense of fatigue, lethargy and general tiredness may show up days, weeks or even months prior to a heart attack. Though sometimes the earliest sign, fatigue is often overlooked because it is so vague. This fatigue won’t be associated with sleep deprivation or mental health issue like depression, it will seemingly have no explanation.
- Dizziness or Feeling Light Headed
As the heart struggles and fails to deliver oxygen, the brain is affected. Without enough oxygen you may feel dizzy and light headed or even faint. Your blood pressure will likely be effected.
- Irregular Heartbeat
It seems a little obvious, but an irregular heartbeat is a big sign of heart attack. You may experience slight episodes of irregularity prior to your heart attack. Irregular heart beat is never a good or ok thing. It typically points to a much more serious heart issue.
- Shortness of Breath
Many women who have heart attacks report shortness of breath in the weeks prior to a heart attack. But, like fatigue it is often overlooked. The pressure and not being able to take a full breath may seem like a lung problem like bronchitis, but it is one of the first signs of heart problems.
- Nausea, Vomiting or GI Upset
Most commonly reported in women, stomach pains and GI upset is yet another atypical sign of a heart attack. While it probably doesn’t mean anything too serious by itself, maybe just a bug or something. When paired with other serious signs on this list nausea and GI discomforts are just as much a symptom as chest pain.
- Back Pain
Another less common symptom seen mostly in women is back pain. Radiated or referred pain from the chest causes the feelings to occur in the mid or lower back. Back pain can present with or without the more common chest pain and can even radiate to the legs.
In the minutes before a heart attack you may begin sweating excessively. It is generally described as cold sweats and has recently been added to the accepted symptoms of a heart attack.
Any combination of these symptoms may precede or occur during a heart attack. To avoid life threatening situations, talk to your physician and always pursue emergency medical care in case of chest pain.