Risk Factors and Symptoms

Another name for a heart attack is myocardial infarction or MI. This means that the heart muscle is deprived of blood because of a blockage causing damage to the heart muscle. Signs or symptoms of existing coronary disease may or may not appear before a heart attack happens. That's why it is important to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack. According to the American Heart Association, the following are warning signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest pain or pressure, like a squeezing feeling in the center of your chest, chest tightness
  • Pain or tightness spreading to your shoulders, arms, neck or jaw
  • Feeling of 'heartburn' or 'indigestion'
  • Shortness of breath
  • Tiredness
  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea
  • Sudden abnormal sweating

Are the warning signs of a heart attack different for women?

Stethoscope and medical book

Heart attack kills six times as many women as breast cancer and is the leading cause of death in women in the United States (Source: National Coalition for Women with Heart Disease). Women may or may not have the classic symptoms of chest pain that men may have. Their symptoms could include: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Unexplained fatigue

Since heart attack is one of the leading causes of death in the United States, it is very important to act right away if you have any warning signs.



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