Are you having a heart attack?

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If you’re able to read this coherently, you’re probably not! It’s a common misconception that heart attacks occur out of the blue, as there are several symptoms and warning signs that can help you detect an early onset of a heart attack. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 70 percent of the 735,000 heart attacks reported each year are first-time heart attacks. This means that only a minority of reported heart attacks had no prior symptoms!

While there are a list of symptoms to look out for which can be indicators of a heart attack, these same symptoms are sometimes caused by problems other than an impending heart attack. But there is no way of knowing for sure without proper medical advice so remember, it’s always important to promptly contact a medical provider if you experience these symptoms.

Nausea, indigestion, or fullness

Nausea, indigestion, vomiting, or a feeling of fullness that lasts for more than a few days may not be related to your stomach. When oxygen-rich blood is not moving through your circulatory system, the body may respond by sending pain signals to the abdomen.

Pain in the jaw or arms

When your heart is struggling, it sends out pain signals that can radiate up to your jaw and down your arms. The pain comes and goes. It is not persistent like the pain from a pulled muscle or dental issue. The pain may be accompanied by numbness, tightness, or tingling sensations.

Fatigue

Feeling exhausted throughout the day with no known cause could be a sign of heart trouble.

Shortness of breath

Many people attribute breathing issues to a lung problem, when in reality they are experiencing a lack of oxygen in the blood. You may have trouble taking a deep breath, become easily winded, or have periods of feeling dizzy and lightheaded.

Upper back pain

Pay attention to pain across the upper back that radiates out toward the shoulders. The pain may come and go, and is not related to a known injury such as a pulled muscle.

Chest pain or pressure

Perhaps most importantly, long before a full-fledged heart attack occurs, you may experience a tightening or pressure in the chest. It may feel like somebody is squeezing your heart. The feeling may come and go, and often lasts for a few minutes.

Paying close attention to your body could prevent a heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, request an appointment with your doctor right away. Never under any circumstances attempt to drive yourself to the hospital. When it comes to a heart attack, every minute matters.