How to Tell If It May Be a Heart Attack

Know the warning signs and when to call 911.

By Ginny Greene, Editor

You've probably seen someone acting out a heart attack in a movie. The actor clutches his chest and falls to the ground.

That isn’t necessarily what happens in real life. Some heart attacks start slowly. You may have mild chest pain or discomfort — or no pain at all. You may not realize you're having a heart attack.

The symptoms can be different for everyone. Here are some common heart attack symptoms:

While chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, not everyone has it. Some people have what is known as a “silent” heart attack — one with little or no symptoms. Women, older people and people with diabetes are more likely not to have chest pain. Women are more likely than men to feel shortness of breath, experience vomiting or nausea, and pain in the shoulders, jaw or back. They are somewhat more likely to feel fatigued, sometimes for days.

Don’t delay
If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately!
If it is a heart attack, your heart is not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. This can quickly cause heart damage or even death.

If you have any of the above symptoms, even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, take these steps:

Don’t put off getting help. Fast action can save your life.