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Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction)

Heart Attack (Myocardial Infarction) - Symptoms

Signs and symptoms

During a heart attack, a person usually experiences severe central chest pain, classically described as heavy or crushing sensation. The chest pain is very similar to angina pain but it is more prolonged (more than 30 mins) and not relieved with rest or usual medications for angina. This condition is usually accompanied by nausea, sweating and apprehension. However, 25% of heart attacks are clinically silent.

The symptoms of a heart attack include:
  • Sudden onset of severe chest pain or discomfort lasting longer than 15 minutes
  • Sudden onset of shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
  • New onset of chest pain or discomfort at rest or with minimal exertion
  • Cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness typically associated with chest pain/discomfort or shortness of breath

Symptoms of a heart attack for women

Women are more likely than men to experience other asymptomatic signs of a heart attack such as:
  • Pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Nausea
  • Feeling faint
  • Shortness of breath

Women may also experience less common signs of a heart attack including:
  • Heartburn
  • Fatique
  • Coughing
  • Heart ‘flutters’

As heart attack may not be as predominantly associated with females as compared to males, some women may discount these symptoms and may not be aware that these are signs of a heart attack. It is important that these warning signs are not ignored and to consult a doctor immediately.

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