Heart Attack Symptoms

Heart attack is a life-and-death emergency... every second counts. Not all of these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes symptoms go away and return. If some occur, get help fast!

Today heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments unavailable to patients in years past. But to be effective, these treatments must be performed relatively quickly after heart attack symptoms first appear. So again, don't delay... get help right away!

Warning Signs

  • Indigestion feeling that doesn't go away
  • Chest discomfort that can radiate to either shoulder or arm, neck and/or jaw, or back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweats
  • Feeling like someone is "standing on your chest"
  • Fainting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Chest pain that disappears and returns
  • May not be any "pain" at all
  • Unusual fatigue

Coronary heart disease is America's No. 1 killer. That's why it's so important to reduce your risk factors, know the warning signs, and know how to respond quickly and properly if warning signs occur.

Unique Warning Signs for Women

Women's heart attack warning signs are:

  • Pressure or pain that spreads to upper back, shoulders, neck, jaw or arms
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Discomfort, fullness, tightness, squeezing or pressure in center of chest that stays for more than a few minutes or comes and goes
  • Stomach or abdominal pain
  • Unexplained feelings of anxiety, fatigue or weakness - especially with exertion
  • Clammy sweats, heart flutters or paleness

Heart Disease Risks

You are at risk for heart disease if you:

  • Have high blood pressure
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Smoke
  • Are diabetic
  • Are not physically active
  • Are under stress
  • Have a family history of heart disease
  • Are postmenopausal

Your risk also increases if you:

  • Don't see your doctor regularly
  • Don't care for your own medical needs the way you do for others
  • Still think heart disease only affects men

Chest Pain Center

Equipped with the latest technology, cardiologists with North Mississippi Medical Center-Tupelo's Chest Pain Center can determine if you already suffered a heart attack, are in danger of a heart attack, or if your chest pain is not heart-related.

The Chest Pain Center works like this:
You come to the Emergency Department at NMMC-Tupelo or another hospital, where a physician examines you. You have blood tests and an EKG, a test that records your heart's electrical activity through 10 small electrode patches attached to the skin of your chest, arms and legs. If your EKG is abnormal, indicating poor blood flow to the heart, the physician admits you to the hospital for heart attack care.

If your EKG and lab tests are normal, you are no longer having chest pain or have a low risk for heart problems, the on-call cardiologist sends you to the Chest Pain Center for observation. If the issue is heart-related, cardiologists and nurse practitioners may be able to prevent a heart attack. If, however, heart disease is ruled out, you are discharged from the hospital and referred to your primary care provider to find the reason behind the pain.

Patients usually spend less than 12 hours in the Chest Pain Center, which allows adequate time for observation without the expense of a hospital admission.

Call 9-1-1

If you see or experience warning signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1.