Classical symptoms of a heart attack (myocardial infarction) in men include chest pain or pressure (heaviness), jaw pain, or extension of pain into the arms or shoulder, especially the left arm, unexplained shortness of breath, unexplained sweating, heartburn or feeling of indigestion, nausea or vomiting, back pain or upper abdominal pain, general lethargy (tiredness), heart palpitations (irregular heart beat), anxiety, and a sudden feeling of illness.
The most common symptoms of heart attack in women include shortness of breath, weakness, and fatigue. A study found that many women reported warning symptoms one month before having a heart attack. Only 30% of women reported chest pain, which the majority of men report. Although women may not have the classical symptoms of a heart attack, they should call 911 immediately if symptoms are present.
Unfortunately, sometimes a heart attack is the first sign of coronary artery disease (CAD). According to the Framingham Heart Study, over 50% of men and 63% of women who died suddenly of coronary artery disease (mostly from heart attack) had no previous symptoms of this disease.
Approximately one fourth of all myocardial infarctions are silent, without chest pain or other symptoms. Silent heart attacks can occur more frequently in people with diabetes. Symptoms of a silent heart attack can include discomfort in the chest, arms or jaw that seems to go away after resting, shortness of breath and tiring easily. The most common complaints of visitors to the emergency room are chest pain (angina) and shortness of breath.
The symptoms of angina can be similar to the symptoms of a heart attack. Angina may lead to a heart attack.
A heart attack is a process that continues over several hours, unless death occurs.
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