Heart Attack Symptoms

Posted by Kayla Phillips on

Heart attack symptoms vary in both type and severity.

Your symptoms may be mild and come on slowly over the course of several hours, or they may be sudden and intense. Chest pain or pressure, in particular, can develop gradually and come and go, often getting worse with exertion and better with rest. While chest pain may be the most common heart attack symptom, not all people experience chest pain during a heart attack.

According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, there’s evidence that about one-third of people with heart attacks experience no chest pain.

People with diabetes and older adults are more likely to experience a heart attack without chest pain. Heart attack symptoms in men and women are often different.

While the range of symptoms varies, the more symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you’re having a heart attack. If you think you may be having a heart attack, it’s important to take action immediately. This means, above all, calling for emergency help.

Depending on your doctor’s instructions, you may also benefit from taking aspirin or other drugs that your doctor has prescribed. 

Most Common Symptoms

The most common warning signs of a heart attack include the following:

Chest Pain

Most heart attacks involve pain or discomfort in the center or left-center of your chest. This pain can range from mild to severe. The pain may feel like tightness, fullness, heavy pressure, crushing, or squeezing. It can also feel like heartburn or indigestion. Chest pain usually lasts more than a few minutes. Sometimes it goes away and comes back, with exertion making it worse and rest making it better.

Upper Body Discomfort

You may also feel pain or discomfort in your arms, jaw, neck, back (especially between your shoulders), or upper part of your stomach (above your belly button). Sometimes, pain begins in your chest and then spreads to these other areas of your upper body.

Shortness of Breath

You may experience trouble breathing or the sensation of being winded when you’re at rest or doing very slight activity that wouldn't normally cause breathlessness. Outside of chest pain, shortness of breath is one of the most common warning signs of a heart attack.

This may be the only symptom you experience, or it can happen before or along with chest or upper body pain. 

Other Common Symptoms

Other common warning signs that may signal a heart attack include:

  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness
  • Cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Heart flutter or palpitations (especially in women)
  • Cough (especially in women)
  • Heartburn (especially in women)
  • Sleep disturbances (especially in women)
  • Anxiety (especially in women)
  • Extreme fatigue or exhaustion (may occur for days or even weeks leading up to a heart attack, especially in women) 

Silent Heart Attack Symptoms

Sometimes a heart attack doesn’t cause obvious symptoms. This is known as a silent heart attack.

Still, a silent heart attack may offer some warning signs, even if they’re brief and mild. These typically include variations on classic heart attack symptoms, such as:

  • Chest discomfort that lasts a few minutes, or comes and goes
  • Discomfort in your neck, jaw, arms, back, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness 

Silent heart attacks are more common in women than in men. (4)

What to Do During a Heart Attack

A heart attack is a medical emergency.

The faster you get to a hospital, the better your chances of surviving the heart attack and minimizing damage to your heart muscle. Even if you’re not sure your symptoms indicate a heart attack, you should seek emergency medical care. Never worry about a false alarm or causing anyone embarrassment.

Follow these steps if you or someone around you is having heart attack symptoms:

Call Ambulance Immediately

Don’t wait more than five minutes before calling for help.

If you take nitroglycerin for chest pain that comes on with exertion and goes away with rest, take it immediately.

If your chest pain doesn't go away within five minutes, call Ambulance. An ambulance is the best way to get to the hospital, since you can be monitored and start treatments while on your way.

If you cannot call an ambulance for some reason, have someone drive you to the hospital. Never drive yourself unless there is absolutely no other choice. 

Chew One Aspirin if Recommended

After you call the ambulance, the operator may tell you to take an aspirin.

Aspirin may help to slow or reduce clotting and blockage around the site of a ruptured plaque deposit in your artery. This can limit damage to your heart and help save your life.

But aspirin won't cure a heart attack or make your symptoms go away, so never delay calling an ambulance to take an aspirin.

You may be told not to take aspirin if you take a medication that can interact with it. 

Sit Down and Stay Calm

Try to relax and remain calm while you wait for help to arrive.

If you’re at home alone, open the front door and sit on the floor near the entrance.

This will help the paramedics easily find you in case you lose consciousness before the ambulance arrives, and give them a flat surface on which to begin CPR if necessary.

Note the Time

If you’re able to do so, record the time your heart attack symptoms began and what you were doing when they started.

This information may help the doctors treating you when you reach the hospital.

 "This article contains affiliate links. If you use these links to buy something Phillips Pharmacy may earn a commission at no extra cost to you."

Trusted Resources 

The Heart Disease Code - Giving You The tools to Fight and Prevent Heart Disease. Fred was doing everything right according to mainstream medicine… He avoided fat, ate lots of whole grains, and was very active. Yet one morning he awoke to stabbing pain in his chest, he could hardly breathe. Like many people Fred was totally taken by surprise. No warning signs, no symptoms of feeling unwell... until bang, it struck out of the blue. By using a specific protocol of supplements, making some crucial food swaps and other lifestyle changes, he shocked his doctor… He dropped 20 pounds, was back doing weight training, had more energy, his cholesterol was normal, and he no longer needed heart surgery. His doctor said he was no longer at high risk of heart attack or stroke.

The Home Doctor - Practical Medicine for Every Household - is a 304-page doctor written and approved guide on how to manage most health situations when help is not on the way.

Medicinal Garden Kit - The Most Important Thing That's Probably Missing From Your Backyard. Get the seeds and knowledge to plant your small backyard pharmacy. Use it whenever you are in pain, catch a cold, have fever, to keep a wound from getting infected, and so on. 



At Phillips Pharmacy Online our vision is to be an integral part in transforming the way that healthcare is delivered in Barbados & beyond. We are a group of passionate people working hard to make a big positive impact on the lives of people. We work with Doctors, Pharmacists, Pharmaceutical Suppliers and most importantly, with You, to improve the health of all.


Learn more athttps://phillipspharmacy.org

Call,Text or WhatsApp at (246) 232-9069.

Join us on                             


Check out our latest e-book offerings!

Improve Health 

Understand Nutrition 

And visit our Online Store.

Disclaimer of Medical Advice:

You understand that the blog posts and comments to such blog posts (whether posted by us, our agents, or bloggers, or by users) do not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.


Share this post

← Older Post Newer Post →

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published.