Heart disease remains the leading cause of death for men and women worldwide. Contrary to what you might see in the movies, it’s hard to ignore the symptoms of a heart attack. “Two-thirds of women will have symptoms of a non-Hollywood heart attack,” says C. Noel Bairy Merz, MD, director of the Barbra Streisand Women’s Heart Center at Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles.
Chest tightness and pain in the upper body are more obvious, but heart attack has many symptoms that can be confused with other diseases (nausea, heartburn, fatigue, etc.). Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack and getting immediate help can be the difference between life and death. Here are the most common symptoms to watch out for.
- UNCOMFORTABLE PRESSURE.
The first symptom of a heart attack listed by the American Heart Association is “uncomfortable pressure, tightness, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest.” This discomfort may appear in waves lasting more than a few minutes at a time.
- PAIN IN OTHER PARTS OF THE BODY.
Heart attack pain can occur in places other than the chest, such as the back, shoulders, arms, neck, or jaw. According to the Cleveland Clinic, when there’s a problem with the heart, such as a blocked artery, it can trigger nerves in your heart to signal that something’s wrong, causing you to feel pain. The vagus nerve is connected not only to the heart, but also to the brain, chest, abdomen, and neck, so it can sense pain signals in other parts of the body besides the heart region.