Some heart attacks come on suddenly and severely but most begin gradually, and present one or more signs and symptoms to varying degrees. Knowing the signs and calling for emergency medical assistance within a few minutes will often be the difference between life and death.
The most common sign of a pending heart attack is continuous or sporadic chest pain, pressure, tightness or a squeezing sensation.
Similar sensations in one or both arms, or the back, neck, stomach or jaw are also symptoms of an oncoming heart attack.
Shortness of Breath
When they present, difficulty breathing, shallow breathing or panting are frequently the first signs indicating a pending heart attack.
Nausea, vomiting, feeling lightheaded, anxiety and a cold sweat are other symptoms that might signal a heart attack is beginning.
Women are as prone to heart attacks as men, and according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute, account for almost 50 percent of heart attack deaths. Women are more likely to experience the other signs and symptoms besides chest discomfort than men.