Unusual Indicators of a Possible Heart Attack
Did you know that common symptoms of a heart attack go beyond the classic symptom of chest pain? Many of the symptoms are often overlooked, because it may be difficult to associate them with a cardiovascular problem.
David Frid, MD, a cardiologist at Cleveland Clinic's Sydell and Arnold Miller Family Heart & Vascular Institute, says people often don’t want to admit that they’re old enough or sick enough to have heart trouble. “But the more risk factors you have for heart disease, such as high cholesterol or blood pressure, obesity, smoking, diabetes or family history, the more you should pay attention to the subtle indicators of heart trouble,” he says.
Heart attack symptoms may begin weeks or days before a heart attack begins. Don’t ignore any of these 12 symptoms:
- Anxiety or a sense of uneasiness or impending doom
- Chest discomfort described as tightness or heaviness that lasts longer than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
- Persistent coughing
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Extreme fatigue
- Nausea or lack of appetite
- Pain in other parts of the body such as the jaw, arm, back or neck
- Rapid or irregular pulse
- Shortness of breath
- Sweating or a cold sweat
- Swelling of the feet, ankles or abdomen
- Unexplained weakness
“Putting off treatment for other medical problems might not be so bad, but a serious heart problem can mean sudden death. Don’t delay seeking medical help,” says Dr. Frid. “The best time to treat a heart attack is within one hour of the onset of the first symptoms.”
- Waiting even a few hours to seek medical attention for a heart attack can dramatically impact treatment options.
- Even if you’ve been treated for coronary artery disease or a prior heart attack, you are still at risk.
- There is no cure for heart disease, so be proactive and talk with your doctor about ways to lead a healthy lifestyle.
Dr. Frid recommends sharing information about heart attack warning signs and the importance of acting quickly with family, friends and coworkers. “If you’re experiencing symptoms, don’t tough it out or blame it on heartburn or muscle soreness. It’s better to go in and be evaluated.”
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