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If you suspect a heart attack, call 911.


reviewed 10/30/2019

Heart attack symptoms

If you suspect a heart attack, call 911.

Heart attacks can be sudden and intense but usually start slowly with mild pain or discomfort.

Select a symptom below to learn more about it.

Sharp pain

Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, a shoulder, or the stomach (above the belly button) are common heart attack symptoms. Back, neck and jaw pain are all somewhat more likely in women than in men.


Heart attacks can cause cold sweats or sweating that is unexplained or excessive.

Nausea or vomiting

Women are more likely than men to experience unexplained nausea, vomiting or indigestion during a heart attack.

Chest discomfort

Chest discomfort is the most common heart attack symptom in men and women. It may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. It usually lasts more than a few minutes. It may go away and then come back.

Shortness of breath

Shortness of breath can come on suddenly and can happen while you're resting. It can start before chest pain or at the same time, or it may be your only symptom of a heart attack.

Light-headedness or dizziness

A heart attack probably won't make you pass out right away, but you might suddenly feel dizzy or light-headed.


Unusual or unexplained fatigue is a heart attack symptom more common in women than men. More than half of women who are having a heart attack experience muscle tiredness or weakness that isn't related to exercise.

Sources: American Heart Association; U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

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