Heart attack early warning signs

Updated June 13, 2017

Recognising the early warning signs that a heart attack is occurring may decrease the risk of death from this dangerous health situation. Heart attacks have early warning signs that may be different for men and women. Identification of the early warning signs of a heart attack may decrease the amount of injury to the heart that results from an attack.


According to the American Heart Association, the most common early warning sign of a heart attack is sudden chest pain that may or may not be severe, and which may spread through the upper body.


According to the Mayo Clinic, respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath or difficulty breathing and tightness in the chest, may be early warning signs of a heart attack.


According to the Mayo Clinic, early neurological symptoms of a heart attack include dizziness, fatigue, breaking a sudden sweat without physical activity, and anxiety.


The early warning signs of a heart attack may include gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, heartburn and abdominal pain, according to the American Heart Association.


The early warning signs of heart attack may be confused with indigestion or exhaustion, and may come and go over several hours, making it difficult to identify the symptoms.


According to the Mayo Clinic, women are more likely than men to experience symptoms other than chest pain during a heart attack.

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About the Author

Jessica Lietz has been writing about health-related topics since 2009. She has several years of experience in genetics research, survey design, analysis and epidemiology, working on both infectious and chronic diseases. Lietz holds a Master of Public Health in epidemiology from The Ohio State University.