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Heart Attack

Heart Attack

About Heart Attacks or Acute Myocardial Infarction (MI)

A heart attack is a complete blockage of blood flow in a coronary artery. The blockage prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching part of the heart muscle. Knowing a heart attack’s signs and symptoms is very important, particularly if you have a history of heart disease in your family.

Knowing Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

Usually a blood clot or piece of plaque (fatty deposits called atherosclerosis) causes the blockage in the heart artery. When blood cannot reach this part of the heart muscle, the muscle may become permanently damaged. The faster you get to a hospital for treatment, the less damage to your heart. If you wait too long, to recognize heart attack signs and symptoms, heart attacks can be fatal.

Recognizing Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

More than one million Americans have a heart attack every year. Better treatment options and community awareness have decreased mortality rates over the years. Knowing heart attack signs and symptoms: symptoms of heart attack in men and symptoms of heart attack in women have also helped reduce the rate of heart attacks. Yet, lack of recognition or a disregard for the heart attack signs and symptoms is still a major cause of death.

Symptoms of heart attack in men and symptoms of heart attack in women are very different. Knowing heart attack signs and symptoms for both genders is very important.

In the event of a heart attack, you must know heart attack signs and symptoms because every second counts.

Heart Attack Signs and Symptoms

Heart attack signs and symptoms are gender-specific, meaning men and women have very different feelings and experiences when a heart attack is occurring.

Symptoms of heart attack in men

Symptoms of heart attack in men are that they typically experience the following common warning signs of a heart attack:

  • Moderate to severe chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Radiating pain in the arms and chest

Symptoms of heart attack in women

Symptoms of heart attack in women are very different than the symptoms of heart attack in men. While chest pain is often a key warning sign of a heart attack, some women who have a heart attack do not experience chest pain.

A woman's pain may be in the back, arm, neck, shoulder, and/or throat. In addition, women will typically have more "non-pain" symptoms than men will. These include vomiting, nausea, fatigue and shortness of breath.

It is also surprisingly common for people to experience no symptoms at all. This is especially true of diabetics and those over the age of 75. We recommend that these individuals visit their family physician and/or cardiologist on a regular basis to continually monitor their health.

Do not ignore the warning signs of a heart attack. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the above symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 because it is quite possibly signaling a heart attack.

Learn more about heart attack testing and heart attack treatment options at Saint Joseph Hospital in Lexington, KY.

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