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Heart Attack Signs

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Pain felt in the arms, neck, tooth, jaw or back
  • Tightness, burning, squeezing, or heaviness in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes OR goes away and then returns — sometimes called the “elephant sitting on my chest” feeling
  • Chest discomfort with fainting, lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath or sweating

Other warning signs to watch for include:

  • Unusual pain in the chest, abdomen or stomach
  • Fast or uneven heartbeat or pulse
  • Sweating for no reason; pale, gray or clammy skin
  • Any new or worsening chest pain (for example, any pain that lasts longer or occurs more frequently)

Signs of a heart attack that are more commonly experienced by women include an uneasy feeling in the chest along with:

  • Unexplained or extreme anxiety
  • Unusual fatigue or weakness
  • Fluttering heartbeats
  • Severe indigestion (for which an antacid doesn’t help)

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