Heart attacks can either be sudden and intense or can begin very mildly. According to the American Heart Association, there are a few warning signs that mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that can repeatedly return. It often feels like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath: May occur without chest discomfort
- Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
If you or someone you know is experiencing these warning signs, call 911 or get to a hospital right away. If you are unable to contact emergency medical systems (EMS), do not drive yourself to the hospital unless there is no other option.