10 Signs of a Heart Attack Never to Ignore

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10 Signs of a Heart Attack Never to Ignore

Heart disease is the number one killer of US men and women. It is so deadly because most signs are vague and often we don’t assign them to having a heart attack. Not always are they so intense or obvious like someone grabbing his chest and having troubles with breathing.

When I was in my early twenties my dad had a heart attack. He survived because of quick action of my mom calling 911 and rushing him to the hospital. Our family has a long history of heart diseases and that’s why my mom didn’t hesitate to call for help.

Warning signs of a heart attack can be misdiagnosed as heartburn, muscle soreness, flu, and other non-cardiac causes. The higher your risk the more likely those signs mean something is going wrong with your heart. And you should take those signs very seriously. The quicker you end up in the hospital the more chance you have to pull through.

Risk factors include:

10 Signs of a Heart Attack You Shouldn’t Ignore

1.      Anxiety

Just before having a heart attack many people experience feelings of anxiety and extreme nervousness.

2.      Chest Pain

This is the most classical symptom of a heart attack. The chest pain is centered, slightly to the left, under your breastbone. Many describe this type of chest pain as “an elephant sitting on the chest”. So whenever you feel an uncomfortable pressure, burning or crushing sensation, squeezing or fullness on your chest and have other signs, don’t hesitate to call for help.

Note that not all chest pain is related to a heart disease. When the pain is sharp and stabbing it is generally not related to a heart attack. If you’re not sure, better call for help than to wait. Seconds can save lives here.


3.      Shortness of Breath

Another common sign of having a heart attack is shortness of breath. It’s like you just ran a marathon and find it difficult to take long, deep breathes due to a tight feeling in the chest.

4.      Cold Sweat

Another common sign is breaking out in a cold sweat while sitting still. This sign never stands on its own though. Most people who have a heart attack experience chest pressure or pain, shortness of breath and cold sweat all at the same time.

5.      Spreading Pain

Mostly the pain of a heart attack starts in the chest and spreads to the shoulders, shoulder blade, arms, elbow, back, neck, jaw and abdomen. The pain will mostly spread to the left side of your body.

In some cases there is no chest pain, just the pain in these body parts and therefore people often think they have sore muscles. The pain may come and go or it may be a constant pain.


6.      Fluid Accumulation

Heart failure can accumulate fluids, making your feet, legs, and abdomen swell. Abdominal swelling can lead to a loss of appetite. Those fluids can also accumulate in your lungs, causing a persistent cough or wheeze. Some people even cough up bloody phlegm.

7.      Irregular Heart Pulse

Irregular heart pulses or arrhythmias combined with dizziness, weakness and shortness of breath can be a sign of a heart attack.

8.      Light headed

Lightheadedness and loss of consciousness can occur while experiencing other heart attack symptoms.

9.      Fatigue And Weakness

Unusual fatigue and weakness can occur in the days or weeks before having a heart attack.

10.  Nausea and vomiting

Not the most common sign and especially women feel sick to their stomach when having a heart attack.


Another tool to diagnose a heart attack is checking levels of the enzyme creatine phosphokinase (or, CPK) in the blood. Doctors usually arrange for a CPK blood test in an emergency situation, for example after a suspected heart attack to identify the extent of muscle damage. CPK levels can be excessively high if a person has suffered a heart attack which has resulted in muscle damage to the heart.

Not everyone having a heart attack will have the typical symptoms of chest pain, sweat, and shortness of breath. Especially women experience more vomiting and dizziness and therefore they often think it’s the flu or a cold.

Symptoms can come in a matter of seconds or slowly build-up for days and even weeks. So at any time you may think there’s something wrong call for help. Acting fast can save your life and when things turn really bad, don’t drive yourself but call 911 and try to stay calm and breathe slowly. Also if you’re not allergic to aspirin it is wise to crush or chew on one to limit the damage.

Read these related articles:

AmyThis is a guest post written by Amy Goodrich, biologist, natural nutrition expert, and holistic health coach who loves living a natural, eco-friendly, and healthy lifestyle. Visit her website http://www.body-in-balance.org  and Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/bodyinbalance.org

The heart is the most important muscle in our body. If you suffer from high blood pressure, find here what to do:

How to Reduce High Blood Pressure Naturally

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20 Responses to 10 Signs of a Heart Attack Never to Ignore

  1. Andelrahmanhafizalamin says:

    As I am suffer from heart problems I found this text is very helpful and useful thanks

  2. Olayinka Ademuwagun says:

    I really love to loose weight.

  3. Cyril Rodrigues says:

    I am still very high blood pressure n thrice had heart attack and got particial paralyses. Thanks for your help. God bless us all Amen

  4. Abu bokar siddique says:

    Still my blood pressure is very high,I want to know the precussions. PL. help

  5. ayobami adewunmi says:

    Thanks for your information on heart attack.Its quite educative.

  6. Jan says:

    I had a heart ache In may of 2013. It was a pain in my back under my shoulder blade, I did feel a sense of doom, but no other symptoms. The pain would be there for 20 minutes leave for 10 then back again. I went to the ED and they ran an EKG nothing. So when the pain got really bad, they did an EKG again… Long story short they fly me to another hospital and I now have a stent in my widower maker it was 95 % blocked. I get chest pain all the time now but my Cardiologist says its nothing… take a nitro.. my blood work is fine and everything else is fine… I now live in a state of fear and I know that is normal for a little bit, but more than a year. My anxiety is now panic and everytime my heart skips a beat, I think this is the big one… What do I do? How do I get over this fear?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Jan, panic attacks are treatable and can usually be treated successfully with self-help strategies or a series of therapy sessions that focus on the thinking patterns. People don’t panic in the present. They panic when they imagine something bad happening to them in the future. One strategy is to get back into the activity you were doing prior to the attack, and become involved with the people and objects around you. It will bring your focus and energy back to the present environment. Think what you did before the panic attack and continue this activity to engage yourself back into the present. Deep breathing and meditation techniques can help as well – see more information here: https://www.healthyandnaturalworld.com/simple-and-effective-meditation-techniques-to-reduce-stress/
      If it doesn’t help, few sessions with a therapist can work on your thinking and change your approach.

  7. alia says:

    iam 30 years old female , having hypo-tension always reach to 100/70 sometimes 90/60 i suffer all above mentioned symptoms except sweet cold . i had Echo rays on my heart and Heart electric Planning , they are normal , i terrified what should i do ?

    • Jenny says:

      Hi Alia, if you think you’ve been misdiagnosed or have any other concerns, don’t feel embarrassed to speak up, get more tests and consider getting a second opinion.

      • ashley says:

        I am 28 and very active and healthy appearing and have had the exact same symptoms as in this article as well as hypotension for several years now. After being told over and over that it is just anxiety I made it to Mayo where I had them stumped for quite some time as well and it seems (see a neurologist in just over a week at Mayo)that I have POT Syndrome–positional orthostatic tachycardia syndrome. Just this morning I was having nearly every one of the symptoms in this article and it is so nerve wracking even despite being told by several cardiologists that my heart is completely healthy. Hopefully the neurologist is able to answer the many questions and concerns I have; and I realize there is no treatment for POTS but I sure wish that I could live with less symptoms as it is very debilitating when my blood pressure gets so low that I have to just lay down sometimes for the rest of the day.

  8. Hauwa Yakubu says:

    pls how can i lower my blood pressure,d natural way because I have been taking a lot of medications but to no avail,it used to rise and fall.

  9. temitayo says:

    am having serious pain from my left chest the pain comes and go please what can I do

    • Jenny Hills says:

      I’m not a doctor so unfortunately I’m unable to give you specific advice. I suggest that you see your doctor for further investigation. If the pain is serious and continues, then don’t ignore it and go for a professional medical check.

  10. Olaniyi bukola says:

    Sometimes I always feel pain which will not longer for a minute on my heart (left side)it come in few months to each other ..what should I do m scared cuz I have reach several hospital they all diagnosed me to nill(nothing)alot of X-ray have been taken m 23years old.. What should I do?

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Hi Olaniyi, unfortunately I’m unable to help as I’m not a doctor and cannot give specific advice or diagnosis. In my article about Left Side Chest Pain, you can see that there might be many reasons for chest pain, some of them are cardiac and some are not cardiac. Have you asked the doctors what could be the reason for this pain? I encourage you to ask them more questions to find out what could possibly cause it.

  11. Sarah says:

    Hi. I like the article, very educational. I have mild to moderate chest pain over the last 5 days, am not worried about it as I have none of the other symptoms but thinking about seeing a Dr tomorrow as I will be out. Just wondering what it might be as it doesn’t match any of the causes listed here.
    Thank you in advance.

    • Jenny Hills, Medical Writer and Researcher says:

      Hi Sarah, there can be many causes of chest pain and many of them are not necessarily cardiac related. You can have a look in my article about chest pain for more information. In any case it’s good that you go to your doctor for a professional diagnosis.

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