• Symptoms of a Heart Attack

    Chest pain is often considered the hallmark symptom of a heart attack, but not everyone having a heart attack experiences the same pain. In particular, women, the elderly, or people with diabetes may experience no pain, or atypical symptoms. If you have any of the symptoms listed below in combination with chest discomfort, call for emergency medical services right away .
    Heart Attack Symptoms
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.
    In general, heart attack symptoms may cause:
    • Chest pain —tightness, squeezing, and/or pressure in the center of your chest that may last a long time, or go away and come back
    • Discomfort or pain in the arms, back, jaw, neck, or stomach
    • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
    • Cold sweat
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Lightheadedness
    • Anxiety
    • A fear of impending doom or death
    In addition to the above, women may have other, more subtle symptoms that may seem confusing and not so obvious. These may include:
    • Extreme fatigue , which may occur days or weeks in advance
    • Pressure or pain in the lower chest, upper abdomen, or upper back
    • Lightheadedness , which may lead to fainting
    Heart attacks can cause severe, permanent damage to the heart, or death. Quick medical treatment is important to increase the chance of survival and decrease the amount of damage to the heart. The sooner the blood flow is restored, the better the outcomes tend to be. Ideally, treatment should be within the first hour after symptoms begin. Do not drive yourself or someone else to the hospital. Emergency medical service personnel can increase the chance of survival and decrease injury by giving treatments while on the way to the hospital.


    Acute coronary syndromes. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T116779/Acute-coronary-syndromes. Updated February 22, 2017. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    Heart attack symptoms in women. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women%5FUCM%5F436448%5FArticle.jsp#.VxFCt02FMdU. Updated January 10, 2017. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI). EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T115392/ST-elevation-myocardial-infarction-STEMI. Updated January 30, 2017. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    Symptoms and diagnosis of heart attack. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/SymptomsDiagnosisofHeartAttack/Symptoms-and-Diagnosis-of-Heart-Attack%5FUCM%5F002041%5FArticle.jsp#.VxFCaU2FMdU. Updated September 16, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    Warning signs of a heart attack. American Heart Association website. Available at: http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack%5FUCM%5F002039%5FArticle.jsp#.WLhEjPJuO0U. Updated September 29, 2016. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    What are the symptoms of a heart attack? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute website. Available at: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/heartattack/signs. Updated January 27, 2015. Accessed March 2, 2017.

    Revision Information

  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.