The heart pumps blood and oxygen throughout the body, but it also depends on a supply of blood and oxygen to do its work. A heart attack happens when one of the arteries that bring blood to the heart muscle is blocked. A portion of the heart muscle is damaged or dies due to inadequate blood flow.
Signs Of A Heart Attack
The most common warning signals of a heart attack are:
- Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
- Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, arms or jaw
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, tightness, heaviness or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
Less common warning signs of heart attack include:
- Nausea or dizziness
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Stomach or abdominal pain; indigestion-like discomfort in the chest, especially with activity
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
For women and diabetics, heart attack symptoms may be more subtle and tougher to identify. They are more likely to include:
- Back or jaw pain
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Unexplained or new onset shortness of breath
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue
Many other conditions can cause chest pain, such as indigestion, panic attack or chest-wall or muscle pain from exercise. It is important to know that any of these symptoms can also be present with a heart attack. It's important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and act immediately by calling 9-1-1, even if you are not sure you're having a heart attack.
Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Your chances of heart attack increase if one or more of the following apply to you:
- Being overweight or obese
- Excess or sustained stress over time
- Family history of early or sudden cardiac death
- High blood sugar if you have diabetes
- High blood pressure
- High cholesterol
- Sedentary lifestyle
At Dominican Hospital, we offer a number of preventative health programs and tools for our patients. Find out more about how we can help you stay heart healthy by visiting our Health and Wellness section.
Learn More About Our Heart Attack Care
To learn more about our services and how we can help, please call us at (831) 462-7707. To find a doctor, please visit our online Find a Doctor tool.