A man clutches his chest as he lets out a loud, distressed gasp. Soon, his legs start to give out and he leans on something for support. Everyone around the man realizes the obvious — he’s having a heart attack and needs immediate medical attention.
Although some heart attacks do occur in such a sudden, startling way, the majority of heart attacks are subtler events that build slowly. We all know the hallmarks of a classic heart attack: sudden chest pain, increased sweating, and left arm pain. But what about vomiting or increased fatigue? Many heart attack victims, especially women, experience these symptoms.
Have you previously experienced a heart attack or want to get more on top of your cardiovascular health? If yes, visit the team at Phoenix Heart. We were recently voted No. 1 in cardiology groups by Ranking Arizona magazine and are known for top-notch cardiovascular care. Most importantly, we understand that when it comes to heart health, knowledge is power. Use this blog post to learn the little-known signs of a heart attack.
On heart attacks
A heart attack occurs when an artery that feeds the heart is blocked, severely restricting blood flow. Without the oxygen-rich blood it is accustomed to, the part of the heart normally fed by the restricted artery begins to die. The amount of damage incurred during a heart attack relates to how long a person goes without treatment.
The common signs of a heart attack
Chest pain is associated with heart attacks because that’s where the medical issue is occurring. This chest pain may come and go or slowly build into an intense pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. The arm pain associated with a heart attack is referred pain — basically, the pain sensation in your chest travels to your spinal cord and brain, which incorrectly attributes some of the pain to your arm. The sweat comes from your body trying to cool down as your heart works overtime to compensate for the blocked artery.
Men are slightly more likely to feel the common indications of a heart attack. But more women suffer signs that may be confused with symptoms of other illnesses or conditions, including menopause and everyday stress. Because of this, many women don’t seek help until they’re in serious trouble. If you experience any of the symptoms below for a period of time, as a man or woman, seek medical attention:
- Nausea and lightheadedness
- Shortness of breath
- Lower or upper back pain
- Pain in both arms, not just the left
- Jaw pain
- Unusual fatigue
- Sleep disturbances
All heart attacks are not sudden. Many people, including 80% of women, report these symptoms for more than a month before a heart attack. If you are feeling any of the above and are at high risk of a heart attack, the team at Phoenix Heart can help.
Call or request an appointment at one of our five Phoenix area offices today.