Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Here are signs that can indicate a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort – most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back; it can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body – symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath – with or without chest discomfort

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness

Note: As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. However, women are somewhat more likely than men to experience other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain according to the American Heart Association.

If any of these symptoms occur, call 9-1-1.

Heart Attack Facts

  • 45% of heart attacks occur in people under the age of 65.
  • Men account for 47% of all deaths from cardiovascular disease.
  • Heart disease is often under-diagnosed and under-treated in women.

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