5 Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

May 7th 2016

Heart attack symptoms may begin slowly with only mild discomfort, whereas some people may experience intense and sudden symptoms. In some cases, heart attacks may occur with mild or no symptoms at all. Individuals who have health concerns or have a family history of heart problems should maintain a healthy diet and an exercise regimen to reduce the risks.

Chest Discomfort

Chest pain can occur for many reasons, but when individuals experience discomfort in the chest area that lasts more than a few minutes or a pain that disappears and comes back, it could be a symptom of a heart attack. Chest pains associated with a heart attack often feel full and produce a squeezing sensation with uncomfortable pressure.

Upper Body Pain

Beyond discomfort in the chest area, some people experience upper body pain in the neck, back, arms, shoulders and jaw area when a heart attack is looming. It is common to feel aches and pains in the upper body, especially when engaging in rigorous activity or exercise. However, individuals who have constant upper body pain may need to consult with a physician. Upper body pain can occur even without chest discomfort when individuals are at risk of having a heart attack.

Shortness of Breath

When a heart attack is on the horizon, some people experience shortness of breath and have a breathing pattern that is similar to panting. In some cases, patients experience shortness of breath before any discomfort occurs in the chest area. Some people may be short of breath without the occurrence of chest pains.

Stomach Pain

People commonly experience upset stomachs, but a pain in the abdominal area that feels similar to heartburn could be a symptom of a heart attack. Nausea and vomiting may also accompany stomach pain in patients at risk of a heart attack. Many patients attribute stomach pain to indigestion or anxiety, but if it persists or is accompanied by other symptoms of a heart attack, it is necessary to seek medical attention.


Anxiety attacks can occur as a result of stress or depression, but anxiety is also a symptom of a heart attack. Patients who feel a sense of doom or experience sweating and nervousness similar to a panic attack should not disregard the symptoms, especially if health concerns or other symptoms appear.


Symptoms of a heart attack can vary based on a person's gender, health conditions or existing diseases. Knowing the warning signs can mean the difference between life and death. Patients who experience common symptoms should seek medical attention and consult with a physician to reduce the risk of a heart attack.

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