February 2nd, 2018 | Updated on June 29th, 2022
Will that pain wear off, or is it time to see your doctor or even call an ambulance? Heart attacks and heart disease is the number one killer in the United States, killing over 600,000 Americans a year.
Though heart attacks are commonly thought to be sudden and striking without warning, 75% of heart attacks have warning signs before the attack.
When a heart attack occurs, blood flow to the heart stops damaging the heart muscle. Because the heart muscle is struggling, the body undergoes many symptoms prior to the actual attack.
Will that pain wear off, or is it time to see your doctor or even call an ambulance? 17 symptoms that you need to take seriously.
1. Chest Pains
Chest pains that come and go are the classic symptom of a heart attack. The pain will last for a few minutes, subside, only to return later
2. Shortness of breath
If you find that you’re panting or breathless or have a racing heart rate while walking up the stairs or doing other daily activities, or you can’t even carry on a conversation without losing your breath, it could be the sign of a heart attack.
Some say they feel like they’ve just run a marathon even though they haven’t moved. Keep in mind that these symptoms could also be the result of a pulmonary condition like COPD or asthma, or of a panic attack.
But panic attacks usually come on suddenly and generally pass within five minutes. Breathlessness that starts slowly and lingers should not be ignored.
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3. Sweating or feeling overheated.
If you suddenly find yourself drenched in a cold sweat for no apparent reason (and you know it’s not a hot flash), it could be the symptom of a heart attack.
4. Dizziness or lightheadedness.
Feeling faint and shaky for no obvious reason could mean that not enough blood is getting to your heart.
Pay attention to this symptom, particularly if you’re also suffering from shortness of breath and a cold sweat.
Waves of nausea, stomach ache, cramps, vomiting and/or diarrhea are often reported by women or men who are having a heart attack.
If nausea or vomiting comes along with other heart attack symptoms like shortness of breath, a cold sweat, or pain in your chest, back, or extremities, then you can be pretty sure it’s not due to food poisoning or the stomach flu.
Are you feeling anxious for no reason? Agitated? Have trouble going to sleep? People, especially women, who have suffered a heart attack, reported feeling anxious in the months leading up their attack.
This relationship have been correlated in several studies. It’s thought that damaged hearts provide less oxygen to the blood and the lower oxygen levels lead to feelings of anxiety.
If you have unexplained feelings of dread or anxiety, you should consult with your doctor.
In a study conducted by the University of Chicago, heavy sweating is commonly the first sign of a coming heart attack It’s been found that when a body is about to have a heart attack, the body will release a massive surge of catecholamines. a dopamine like hormone. This will lead to cold sweats and a feeling of clamminess.
8. Pain Under Your Arm
If you start having a pain under your arm, especially your left side, you should be particularly cautious. Often time, this pain is mistaken for normal muscle pain.
When a damaged heart is about have a heart attack, it starts sending pain signal to your spinal cord and its nerves. This isn’t a constant pain, but will come and go.
Be especially on guard, if the pain is caused by physical exertion and goes away after you rest.
9. Persistent Cough
A persistent cough not caused by any sickness, can also be a sign of heart failure or heart attack.
As your damaged heart starts to fail, your lungs will start to fill up with lungs which will lead to the cough. In some instances, the phlegm will be bloody.
10. Dizzy Or Faint
Feeling dizzy or faint can be a sign of a coming heart attack. A coming heart attack will start restricting blood flow throughout your body.
This can include blood loss to the brain which will cause you to feel faint or dizzy.
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11. You Feel Queasy
If your stomach is tied up in knots all of a sudden, or if you experience vomiting seemingly out of nowhere, it’s well worth mentioning to your doctor.
Fortunately, nausea and vomiting are often early warning signs of a heart attack, so getting them attended to early may help you fight back before your life is at risk.
12. Leg pain
If you get a gripping, cramping sensation in your calves when you are walking, it might be worth seeing your doctor, as that can be a marker of PAD (peripheral arterial disease).
It’s most common in smokers and people who have diabetes.” Make an appointment with your GP.
13. Arm pain
If your pain is going down the arm, especially the left arm, or into the neck that makes it more likely to be heart-related than indigestion.
If it doesn’t go away, or if you know you have heart disease and have used your GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) spray two or three times to no discernible effect, you should be seeking emergency medical advice.” Call for an ambulance.
14. Jaw or back pain
With heart attacks, it can even happen that the pain is felt in the jaw, or the back. Again, if it doesn’t go away, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.”
There is some evidence that women’s symptoms are more likely to vary from ‘classic’ chest pain, and we know that women are less likely to seek medical attention and treatment.
15. Swollen ankles
This shouldn’t be ignored, especially if the ankles get really big, as it can be a marker of heart failure, but it is also very common and has lots of other causes.
It could just as easily be from tablets you are taking – for example, blood pressure medication can lead to swollen ankles
You’re listless, bone tired, have no energy, and always tired. This feeling goes on for days, weeks, on end. No amount of rest seem to cure it.
This could be a sign of a coming heart attack. In a university survey of heart attack victims, 70% said they felt extremely fatigued in the weeks before the attack itself.
17. Irregular Heartbeat
An attack of irregular heart beat or a rapid pulse that you can’t explain, could be sign. Rapid and irregular heart beat sometimes comes before a heart attack by weeks or months.
An irregular heartbeat is often a sign of more serious problems. These episodes of irregular heart beats are often confused as a panic attack.
The heart will pound accompanied shortly afterwards with dizziness and feeling light headed.
No matter if you suspect you have heart problems or not, you should see your physician as these are usually an indication of serious problems.