Heart Attack | Symptoms


What are the symptoms of heart attack?

Symptoms of heart attack may include:

  • Chest discomfort, which may feel like pain, pressure, tightness, heaviness or burning (also called angina).
  • Pain or discomfort in the neck, shoulders, lower jaw, arms, upper back or abdomen.
  • Shortness of breath that lasts more than a few seconds.
  • Feeling lightheaded, dizzy or faint.
  • Nausea and/or vomiting.
  • Unusual sweating.
  • Overwhelming fatigue.
  • Feeling anxious.
  • Heart palpitations (feeling like your heart is beating really fast, or out of rhythm).

Are the symptoms of heart attack different for women?

Like men, the most common heart attack symptom for women is pain or discomfort in the chest. However, women may also have a heart attack without having any chest pain. Women should be especially aware of the other possible symptoms of heart attack, including shortness of breath, sweating, fatigue and dizziness.

What should I do if I have symptoms of heart attack?

If you think you may be having a heart attack, it’s important to seek treatment right away. Follow these steps:

  • Dial 911 or call an ambulance right away. Do not drive yourself to the hospital.
  • After calling for emergency medical help, chew and swallow 1 uncoated adult aspirin (325 mg) or 4 uncoated baby aspirins (81 mg each). Don’t take the aspirin if you’re allergic to aspirin.
  • If you are alone, unlock your door to let emergency help enter your home.
  • Sit in a comfortable chair and wait for help.
  • Keep a phone near you.

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff. Portions of this article were written by Susan D. Housholder, RN, MSN, ANP-BC, FAHA.

Reviewed/Updated: 03/14
Created: 09/10