Heart Attack Symptoms

Don't wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs!  Although some heart attacks are sudden and intense, most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body -- and call 9-1-1 if you feel:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs:  cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness, palpitations, paleness, weakness/fatigue, or dizziness. 

Download the American Heart Association's heart attack warning signs infographic.  Share it with those you love.

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If you or someone you care for has been diagnosed with heart failure, we can provide the tools to improve quality of life. Central Carolina Hospital has now earned Advanced Heart Failure Accreditation from the American College of Cardiology. We were awarded the accreditation based on rigorous onsite review of the staff's ability to evaluate, diagnose and treat patients with heart failure through pre-hospital care, early stabilization, acute care, transitional care, clinical quality measures and more.

Symptoms May Vary Between Men and Women

As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Learn about the warning signs of heart attack in women.

Minutes Matter

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives -- maybe your own. Don't wait - call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.

Watch an animation of a heart attack from the American Heart Association.

Remember: Call 9-1-1 if you believe you are experiencing a medical emergency.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. EMS staff are trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.