A person experiences a heart attack when there is a severe reduction or blockage of the normal flow of blood to the heart. The blockage occurs because of the accumulation of cholesterol, fat, plaque, or other substances in the arteries of the heart. Also known as myocardial infarction, a heart attack requires immediate expert attention. So, it is important to determine the cause and monitor symptoms if one is at risk.
Pain and discomfort in the chest
This is one of the most common early warning signs of heart attack. A person who is having a heart attack experiences pressure, tightness, and pain in the chest. It may feel like a heavy object has been placed over the chest. Some people also experience a burning or pinching sensation in the chest. These sensations last for more than a few minutes.
Pain radiating from the arms
Another common early sign of heart attack is pain that starts from the left side of the body. This pain radiates from the chest. It gradually moves outwards. In some cases, the pain is restricted only to the left arm. It does not spread to the entire left part of the body.
The onset of a heart attack can make one feel faint. There is a sudden feeling of unsteadiness, discomfort in the chest, and breathlessness. This may cause one to lose their balance as well. All of these early signs are the result of blood pressure dropping due to inadequate blood being pumped to the heart.
Nausea and vomiting
These symptoms are generally experienced more by women than by men. The feeling of nausea is often accompanied by symptoms of heartburn and indigestion. Some also experience pain in their abdomen. Although these symptoms are common digestive problems, it is important to monitor them carefully if one is at a known risk for heart attack.
Pain in jaw or throat
Generally, throat or jaw pain is not associated with heart problems. Issues with muscles, sinusitis, or common cold are some potential causes of throat or jaw pain. However, if the pain in the jaw radiates from pressure building in one’s chest, it can indicate an oncoming heart attack. In such cases, contacting emergency services as soon as possible is important.
Frequently feeling tired
Heart attack is commonly preceded by frequent feelings of tiredness and fatigue. For instance, one may feel winded or breathless after climbing up the stairs, jogging, or carrying around heavy items such as groceries. One may not have experienced this kind of tiredness earlier. When such changes in one’s energy levels occur, it is important to consult a health practitioner immediately and get tested.
Heart skipping a beat or the heartbeats becoming irregular occasionally due to excitement or nervousness is quite normal. But, irregular heartbeats that persist for a longer time require expert intervention. Also, if one starts to experience heart palpitations, it is a cause for concern. Feeling pressure buildup in the chest, along with dizziness or shortness of breath, can be early signs of a heart attack.