Advertisement

How do I know if I am having a heart attack?

You’ll know you’re having a heart attack by traditional signs like crushing chest pain that radiates to the left arm and neck and shortness of breath. But there is a whole world of atypical heart symptoms, particularly in diabetics. A diabetic’s only symptom might be shortness of breath or fatigue. Women may have atypical symptoms like back pain, arm pain, upper abdominal pain and bloating.

You could be having a heart attack if you have one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Chest discomfort. 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, pain, squeezing or fullness.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body—your arms, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Other signs—breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness.

To know if your symptoms signal a heart attack, get into the habit of noting your typical aches and pains and your normal reactions to foods and activities so you can recognize when something is truly amiss. If you have heart disease risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, diabetes, a smoking habit or a sedentary lifestyle, be especially careful about monitoring how you feel. Alert your doctor if you experience unusual fatigue, changes in your sleep habits or other subtle heart attack symptoms.

Continue Learning about Heart Attack

How to Recover From a Heart Attack
How to Recover From a Heart Attack
The prospect of a heart attack is terrifying, but there’s good news: it’s possible to survive one. “But time is of the essence,” says Frederick Funke,...
Read More
Can sadness cause a heart attack?
TriStar Southern Hills Medical CenterTriStar Southern Hills Medical Center
Everyone knows diet, exercise, cholesterol levels and blood pressure are crucial to heart health, bu...
More Answers
6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers
6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers6 Surprising Heart Attack Triggers
Learn how the weather, road rage or the big game can spell trouble for your ticker.
Start Slideshow
What Causes Atherosclerosis?
What Causes Atherosclerosis?

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.