Symptoms of a heart attack

Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
  • Sweating.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Nausea or vomiting.
  • Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, upper belly, or one or both shoulders or arms.
  • Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
  • A fast or uneven heartbeat.

The more of these symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you're having a heart attack. Chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom, but some people, especially women, may not notice it as much as other symptoms. You may not have chest pain at all but instead have numbness, tingling, or a strange feeling in your chest or other areas.

If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or other emergency services immediately. After calling 911 or other emergency services, you should chew and swallow one adult-strength (325 mg) or 2 to 4 low-dose (81 mg) aspirin unless you cannot take aspirin because of allergy or some other reason. By calling 911 and taking an ambulance to the hospital, you may be able to start treatment before you arrive at the hospital.

Last Updated: April 24, 2009

Author: Jan Nissl, RN, BS

Medical Review: William M. Green, MD - Emergency Medicine & H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine

related physicians

related services

Bon Secours International| Sisters of Bon Secours USA| Bon Secours Health System

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. Privacy Policy. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

© 1995-2010 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.