Most people imagine a person having a heart attack clutching their chest and falling to the floor. Doctors have discovered, however, that there are a wide variety of symptoms of heart attack, often determined by factors such as age, gender, and type of existing heart disease.
Heart attack symptoms can vary greatly between men and women, though some shared symptoms present themselves in both sexes. They may experience chest pain that feels as if something heavy is resting on the chest or a constant or intermittent squeezing sensation. The symptoms can remain constant or come and go over time. Shortness of breath or dyspnea is another common symptom, leaving one feeling as though they cannot draw air into the lungs. Heart attacks can also cause sensations similar to heartburn or indigestion, combined with nausea and belly pain. Some people experience radiating pain from the chest to other parts of the body, including the upper back and shoulders, arms, and jaw. Lightheadedness or dizziness can also set in. Becoming familiar with these symptoms of heart attack is important, as 85 percent of heart damage tends to occur within the first couple of hours following a heart attack. People who have heart attacks are at greater risk for sudden fatal arrhythmia and irregular heartbeat.
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