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Signs of a Heart Attack

Last Modified: January 01, 2014

Heart Health

The signs of a heart attack aren’t always obvious and women and men often have different symptoms. Listen to one woman’s story and read more information below.

Christy Neuhaus knows it’s easy to ignore the signs of a heart attack. When she dismissed chest and jaw pain for hours, it nearly cost Christy her life. Listen to her story.


The signs of a heart attack are often different for women than for men. 

  • Sudden onset of severe fatigue, like the flu, often with vague chest discomfort
  • Discomfort, fullness, tightness, squeezing or pressure in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or comes and goes
  • Pressure or pain that spreads to the upper back, shoulders, neck, jaw or arms
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness or nausea
  • Clammy sweats, heart flutters or paleness
  • Unexplained feelings of anxiety, fatigue or weakness, especially with exertion
  • Severe stomach or abdominal pain 


Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, pain or discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes

  • Pain or discomfort that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms
  • Pain, dizziness, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
  • Any chest discomfort that causes anxiety or concern
  • Any of the above symptoms that disappear with rest, then return with exertion
  • Pain that lasts for 10 to 15 minutes while you are resting should be evaluated immediately

Call 911

If you think that you or a loved one is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Tell the emergency team you’re having a heart attack. Do not drive to the hospital.

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