Can you identify a heart attack?

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Is it a heart attack or just heartburn? Is the pain in your arm from heavy lifting or is it something more serious? Would you know if you were having a heart attack? Unfortunately, many people don’t know the symptoms of a heart attack, and the symptoms for men and women can be different.

Most heart attacks begin with mild symptoms that slowly escalate, although some are sharp and sudden. Learn to recognize what happens to your body when you experience a heart attack — it could save your life or the life of someone you love.

Chest pain
Most heart attacks begin with chest pain or discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, goes away and returns. You may feel pressure, pain, fullness or squeezing in your chest.

Pain or discomfort in other areas of the body
You may feel discomfort in your jaw, back, neck, stomach or in one or both arms.

Shortness of breath
You may feel like you can’t get enough oxygen. This may occur with or without chest pain.

Other symptoms to be aware of
Nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness, fainting or breaking out in a cold sweat.
Women need to be especially aware of symptoms like nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain. These symptoms occur more frequently in women than men, but the most common symptoms for women are shortness of breath and chest pain.

If you experience any of these signs, don’t wait more than five minutes to call for help. Call 9-1-1, and get to a hospital right away.

Take care of your heart and make sure you know the hospitals in your area that offer 24-hour cardiac care. Learn more about the signs of a heart attack and find resources for a healthy heart at heart.org.

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