Heart Attack Symptoms
Chest pain can be associated with many things. It can be related to your heart, or it can be a sign that there is a problem in another body system, such as your lungs or intestines.
The best way to determine the cause of chest pain is to be seen by a doctor. Chest pain can mean a life-threatening condition. So see a doctor immediately.
What does a heart attack feel like?
The pain of a heart attack differs from person to person. Many people describe it as a heavy pressure or squeezing sensation in the center of the chest. Others report a stabbing feeling. At times the pain may spread to the left arm, jaw or back. The intensity of the pain does not always indicate the degree of heart damage that may be occurring. Some people don't have any symptoms during a heart attack.
A characteristic of chest pain associated with a heart attack is that it is often unrelenting. Once it begins, there is usually nothing that you can do at home to stop the pain. Pain does not improve with rest, position changes, over-the-counter medications or even nitroglycerin.
Often, people who are having a heart attack describe other symptoms associated with the chest pain. These may include:
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea and vomiting
An anxious feeling with a sense of impending doom
Some people, especially women, people with diabetes and the elderly, do not have typical heart attack symptoms. While these people often have chest pain, it may be mild. They may more commonly complain of neck, shoulder, and belly pain; breathlessness, heartburn, nausea, and lasting tiredness.