Early Heart Attack Symptoms
While many people with early symptoms may have mild chest discomfort or pain, others will have severe pain located in the center of the chest or throat. This pain is often described as crushing, squeezing, or heavy; many people have described it as the worst pain they have ever experienced. For people with angina, the pain can be similar but longer-lasting and more severe. This pain may also move into one or both arms, the left shoulder, neck, jaw, or back.
Other early symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Cold sweat
- Shortness of breath
- Severe anxiety
- Irregular heartbeats.
Early symptoms usually begin when a person is at rest. A heart attack can also occur during exertion, and rest does not relieve the symptoms. This is different from angina, where rest usually relieves the symptoms.
For most people having a heart attack, early symptoms include pain. The pain can range from mild discomfort to severe crushing pain. However, pain is not always an early symptom. Up to 20 percent of heart attacks are painless. Painless heart attacks are more common in:
- People with diabetes
- Older people.
Early symptoms in the elderly may begin with a sudden episode of breathlessness.
There are many conditions that can cause similar heart attack symptoms. However, if you think you may be having early symptoms of a heart attack, or if your angina pain does not go away as usual when you take your angina medicine as directed, call 911 for help. Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, you should still have it checked out. Fast action may save your life.