Common and Not-So Common Heart Attack Symptoms | Whittier, CA | PIH Health

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Published on June 16, 2022

Common and Not-So Common Heart Attack Symptoms

Photo of a woman clutching her chest with a superimposed illustration of a heart over her handsDid you know that not everyone who is having a heart attack experiences chest pain? Pay attention to other warning signs such as shortness of breath, irregular heartbeat, nausea, fainting, nervousness, or overwhelming weakness. Some additional warning signs are:

  • Severe pressure, fullness, squeezing, pain, or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
  • Pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulders, neck, arms, or jaw
  • Chest pain that doesn't get better with rest
  • Chest pain that happens along with any of these symptoms:
    • Sweating
    • Cool, clammy skin or paleness
    • Shortness of breath
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Dizziness or fainting
    • Unexplained weakness or fatigue
    • Fast or irregular pulse

Symptoms may be slightly different for both men and women

For women, symptoms may be subtle such as new or dramatic fatigue, pressure, squeezing, or shortness of breath or jaw pain. Some women may experience stomach pain that may be mistaken for indigestion. Additionally, research has shown that many women don’t experience chest pain at any time during a heart attack. For men, heart attack symptoms can feel like uncomfortable and heavy pressure or a squeezing sensation in the chest.

Although a heart attack can happen to anyone, certain factors can make you more likely to suffer a heart attack

PIH Health Cardiovascular Disease, Internal Medicine, and Interventional Cardiology physician, Katrine Alexandra Zhiroff MD, says that those who may be at higher risk for heart attacks are individuals who are:

  • Older in age
  • Diabetic
  • Overweight
  • Not active
  • Accustomed to an unhealthy diet, especially one high in saturated fat and low in fiber
  • Under a great deal of stress
  • Those who drink too much alcohol, smoke, or use illegal drugs
  • From a family that has a history of heart diseases
  • Experiencing low levels of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, high levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, or high levels of triglycerides
  • Those who have high blood pressure

“Although chest pain is a common warning sign of a heart attack, it is important to pay attention to other symptoms as well because symptoms often vary for each person,” says Dr. Zhiroff. She also emphasizes that if you or anyone around you experiences any of these symptoms, it’s important to call 9-1-1 immediately.

Visit PIHHealth.org to learn more about Katrine Alexandra Zhiroff MD and heart and vascular care at PIH Health.

The information in Healthy Living Online is for educational purposes only.  It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice.  The reader should always consult his or her healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation, or if they have any questions regarding a medical condition or treatment plan.