When a person is experiencing one or more warning signs of heart attack or stroke, calling for an ambulance or driving them to a hospital is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, causing someone to gasp dramatically, clutch her heart and drop to the ground. No one has any doubts about what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are some of the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Sweating – Similar to stress sweat, rather than sweating from exercise.
- Fatigue – Extreme tiredness.
- Chest Pain or Discomfort – The pain can be anywhere in the chest, not just the left side.
- Shortness of Breath – Typically trouble breathing for no clear reason.
- Pain in the Arms, Back, Neck, or Jaw – Pain can be gradual or sudden.
- Nausea – Flu-like symptoms, including nausea, may occur a few days before a heart attack.
- Stomach Pain – Can range in intensity from heartburn-like pain to severe abdominal pressure.
If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than five minutes before calling for an ambulance.