Most of us think heart attacks are sudden, but there are numerous symptoms that often go unnoticed that are possible indicators — if you know what to watch for. According to a recent Harvard study, only 25 percent of heart attack victims had no prior symptoms. The problem is, these danger signs aren’t necessarily the symptoms you’ve been warned about. Here are seven early warning signs that could save a life — yours or that of someone you love. Although these symptoms may also be caused by problems other than an impending heart attack, if you notice them occurring, be sure to promptly contact a medical provider.
- Rapid, pounding, or irregular heartbeat. Call the doctor right away.
- Nausea, stomach ache, and indigestion. If your nausea symptoms are definitely being brought on by physical activity, don’t delay in contacting your doctor, and ask about being evaluated for angina and coronary artery disease.
- Extreme fatigue. Call your doctor and schedule a checkup. Be sure to mention the connection with exertion.
- Anxiety attacks and insomnia. Ask yourself whether the anxiety is related to recent events or triggers, or whether it seems abnormal in proportion to life events.
- Pain in the shoulder, neck, jaw, or arm. Pain that doesn’t go away after several days merits a medical checkup. If the pain seems to move or radiate upward and out, this is important to tell your doctor.
- Breathlessness, dizziness, or a feeling of being unable to draw a deep breath. Shortness of breath can indicate a problem with the lungs, the heart, or both, so this symptom is always a reason to call the doctor.
- Unusual, excessive sweating. If symptoms persist and seem unusual, call your doctor to talk through your concerns.
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