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Health > Heart Attack > Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

A heart attack is a medical emergency and prompt treatment increases the chance for survival. If you suspect that you or someone around you is experiencing a heart attack, seek medical attention immediately. Symptoms of heart attack vary considerably, even in patients who have experienced a previous heart attack. Heart attack can occur suddenly and cause severe, intense symptoms; however, most begin slowly and cause mild discomfort that may come and go.

Signs of a heart attack include the following:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back.

  • Pain or discomfort that radiates to other areas of the upper body (e.g., one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw, or stomach).

  • Shortness of breath Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.

  • Other symptoms include breaking out in a cold sweat, having nausea and vomiting, or feeling light-headed or dizzy.

Prevent a Second Heart Attack

If you have already had a heart attack, it is very important to follow your doctor's advice to prevent a second heart attack:

Make lifestyle changes as directed.

Take your medications as directed.

Follow any other treatment recommended by your doctor.

By taking these steps, you can prevent or reduce the chance of another heart attack and related complications, such as heart failure.

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