Heart Attack

Myocardial Infarction (MI)


It’s easy to delay action when a heart attack occurs because you may not think it’s a heart attack. You either don’t recognize the signs or dismiss them. Sudden, dramatic heart attacks occur, but a heart attack may also begin with mild pain or pressure in the chest. Unfortunately, any delay in action can mean more significant damage to the heart muscle. But if you familiarize yourself with the warning signs of a heart attack, you won’t hesitate to seek immediate medical attention.

Many heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes, or that goes away and returns. It can feel like any of the following:

  • Uncomfortable pressure
  • Squeezing
  • Fullness
  • Stabbing pain

Common heart attack symptoms

It’s important to note that not all heart attacks are preceded by angina (chest pain). Other common heart attack symptoms can include the following:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body—one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Pounding heart or changes in heart rhythm
  • Heartburn, nausea, vomiting, and abdominal pain
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat or clammy skin
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
woman with symptoms

Heart attack symptoms common in women

Specific heart attack symptoms are more common in women. These symptoms, which may occur without chest pain, include the following:

    Sudden onset of weakness Shortness of breath Nausea, vomiting, and indigestion Body aches An overall feeling of illness Unusual feeling or mild discomfort in the back, chest, arm, neck, or jaw (without chest pain) Sleep disturbance Anxiety

If you or someone you’re with experiences any of the symptoms above, don’t delay—seek medical help immediately!

Stories of Hope and Recovery

Russell Wickrowski

On their way to a rock concert, Russell Wickrowski and his two children were hustling to catch the subway when he first recalls feeling a pain in the center of his chest.

Russell Wickrowski patient of Dr. Charles E. Chambers