Signs & Symptoms of Pending Heart Attack

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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.

Chest Discomfort

The most common sign of a pending heart attack is continuous or sporadic chest pain, pressure, tightness or a squeezing sensation.

Chest pains are an early indicator of a heart attack.
Chest pains are an early indicator of a heart attack. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Upped-Body Discomfort

Similar sensations in one or both arms, or the back, neck, stomach or jaw are also symptoms of an oncoming heart attack.

Neck discomfort can also be a sign.
Neck discomfort can also be a sign. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

Shortness of Breath

When they present, difficulty breathing, shallow breathing or panting are frequently the first signs indicating a pending heart attack.

Shortness of breath is an early indicator.
Shortness of breath is an early indicator. (Image: Hemera Technologies/AbleStock.com/Getty Images)

Other Signs

Nausea, vomiting, feeling lightheaded, anxiety and a cold sweat are other symptoms that might signal a heart attack is beginning.

Light headed sensations can lead to a heart attack.
Light headed sensations can lead to a heart attack. (Image: BananaStock/BananaStock/Getty Images)

Women

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.

A woman checks with her doctor as she is just as prone as a man for a heart attack.
A woman checks with her doctor as she is just as prone as a man for a heart attack. (Image: Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

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