Know the Signs of a Heart Attack

The more you know about the signals that a heart attack is occurring, the better chance you have of recovering or getting appropriate help, according to Albany Med’s heart team. 

“While many heart attack symptoms could indicate something else is happening, being aware of potential signals can be critical to knowing when to seek help,” said Edward Philbin, M.D., chief of Cardiology at Albany Medical Center.

Here are the major heart attack warning signs:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: Feelings could include an ache, pressure or squeezing lasting minutes, and could come and go. 
  • Upper body pain: Pain in either arm or shoulder, back or neck. May or may not accompany chest pain. 
  • Jaw pain: Particularly lower jaw pain, accompanied by other symptoms. 
  • Intense anxiety: An overwhelming sense of doom for no apparent reason. 
  • Shortness of breath: You might begin panting, or take involuntary deep breaths. 
  • Sweating: You unexpectedly sweat, and skin becomes clammy. 
  • Dizziness: Lightheadedness, to the point you feel you might pass out. 
  • Fatigue: A key indicator, especially in conjunction with the presence of other symptoms. Indigestion/nausea: Stomach pain and/or vomiting.
  • Racing heart: An accelerated pulse rate, even at rest.

“If you suspect you or someone near might be having a heart attack, do not play doctor. Call 911 or otherwise seek immediate medical help. Everyone second counts,” Philbin said.