Fri. Apr 19th, 2024

The symptoms we experience when suffering from an illness or medical condition are often linked to the affected area of the body. For example, it makes sense that a cough is a sign of a respiratory problem or pain in your abdomen could be a stomach bug.

However, this is not always the case, with some symptoms seemingly unrelated. In extreme cases this could be dangerous, as life-threatening conditions could be ignored or mistaken.

Such symptoms can appear when suffering from a heart attack. According to UCLA Health, in the US, signs of a heart attack are not always “sudden” or “obvious”.

A heart attack occurs when blood supply to the heart is stopped, most commonly by a clot. But this can take time to happen.

UCLA Health explains: “Sometimes the symptoms of a heart attack are obvious, but most heart attacks are not sudden and intense. They can come on slowly, with mild symptoms, as blood flow to the heart is reduced.

“About two out of three people who have heart attacks have some symptoms before the attack.”

As would be expected, the most common sign of a heart attack is chest pain.

UCLA Health says: “The most common and recognizable symptom of a heart attack is chest pain (also called angina).

“The pain may feel like pressure, squeezing, burning or tightness in the centre of your chest. It may last more than a few minutes, or it may continue to come and go.”

Aside from chest pain, there are other “less obvious” symptoms that may occur.

This includes jaw pain, described as “pain, numbness, pinching or other uncomfortable sensation”.

The sensation could also be felt in the arm, back or stomach, according to the healthcare provider.

Other symptoms to be aware of include:

  • Dizziness or fainting
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing deeply
  • Unexplained sweating or cool, clammy skin
  • Unusual fatigue.

UCLA Health also notes that women are more likely to experience jaw pain during a heart attack than men.

It says: “According to the American Heart Association, women are more likely to die from heart disease than anything else.

“Yet, women often assume their symptoms aren’t life-threatening and attribute them to ageing, anxiety or acid reflux.

“Chest discomfort or pain is the most common indication of heart attack for women.

“But women are more likely than men to experience some of the other symptoms of heart attack, specifically shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.”

Sometimes these symptoms can happen without chest pain, it adds.

Around one in five people will also experience what is known as a silent heart attack.

“People who have silent heart attacks often recall mild symptoms of indigestion, feelings of a strained chest muscle or flu-like symptoms,” UCLA Health says.

If you think you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack you should call 999 or go to A&E as soon as possible.

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