Recognizing the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack can help save lives. About 750,000 people in the U.S. have a heart attack each year, and about 116,000 die. Many of these patient experienced early symptoms.*

About 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack. It's important to know the subtle danger signs of a possible heart attack and act upon them immediately before heart damage occurs.**

If you need a referral to a physician at Lakewood Ranch Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 941-708-8100 or search for a doctor online.

Warning Signs of a Possible Heart Attack

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, aching, burning, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. Occurring with or before chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, unusual fatigue or light-headedness. Treatments are usually most effective when they occur in the early stages of chest pain.

If you or someone near you is experiencing the signs of a possible heart attack, call 9-1-1. Time lost is muscle lost.

Symptoms for Women May be Different**

Women are more likely to wait to receive medical care for a possible heart attack. As with men, women's most common possible symptom is chest pain. But the following symptoms can sometimes be especially common in women:

  • Stomach, back or jaw pain
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Lightheadedness
  • Nausea
  • Cold sweat
  • Vomiting
  • Shortness of breath

Risk Factors for Men and Women

These are the general heart attack risk factors. Discuss your risk with your doctor.

  • Family history
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obesity
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Using tobacco products
  • Metabolic disease, diabetes or other illnesses

Hands-Only™ CPR

Here's how to be a heart hero in only seven steps, according to the American Red Cross and the American Heart Association:

  1. Call 9-1-1 (or ask someone to call) if you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse.
  2. Kneel beside the person who needs help.
  3. Place the heel of one hand on the center of the chest.
  4. Place the heel of the other hand atop the first, and lace your fingers together.
  5. Position yourself so your shoulders are directly over your hands. Keep your arms straight.
  6. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of a familiar song that has 100-120 beats per minute. For example, Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees, MMMBop by Hanson, or Can't Stop the Feeling by Justin Timberlake (be sure to let the chest rise completely between compressions).
  7. Keep pushing until you see obvious signs of life, like breathing, or until an EMS professional or trained responder can take over, an AED becomes available, you become too exhausted, or the scene becomes unsafe.

*American College of Cardiology
**American Heart Association