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Some heart attacks are sudden and intense and there is no doubt what is happening; however, most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.
Warning signs of a heart attack
- Chest discomfort: uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
- Shortness of breath: may often occur with or before chest discomfort.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body; this may be felt in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Sweating, nausea or dizziness.
- Women, the elderly or diabetics may be more likely to present with symptoms other than chest pain — such as shortness of breath, back pain, or nausea and vomiting.
If you believe you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 right away.