According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 715,000 Americans suffer a heart attack each year. For many people, early warning signs appear in the months, weeks, or days before a full-blown heart attack. Recognizing these warning signs and seeking medical help could save your life.
Nausea, Indigestion, or FullnessNausea, indigestion, vomiting, or a feeling of fullness that lasts for more than a few days may not be related to your stomach. When oxygen-rich blood is not moving through your circulatory system, the body may respond by sending pain signals to the abdomen. If you’ve been taking antacids or anti-nausea medication for more than three days with no relief, talk to your doctor.
Pain in the Jaw or Arms When your heart is struggling, it sends out pain signals that can radiate up to your jaw and down your arms. The pain comes and goes. It is not persistent like the pain from a pulled muscle or dental issue. The pain may be accompanied by numbness, tightness, or tingling sensations. If you experience this, call your doctor.
FatigueFeeling exhausted throughout the day with no known cause could be a sign of heart trouble. If fatigue lasts for more than two weeks and does not improve with rest, talk to your doctor.
AnxietyConstant worrying or anxiety that is not related to a specific stressor in your life should be addressed. If you have trouble falling asleep at night, or you wake up in the middle of the night plagued by anxiety or feelings of doom and distress, talk to your doctor.
Shortness of breathMany people attribute breathing issues to a lung problem, when in reality they are experiencing a lack of oxygen in the blood. If you have trouble taking a deep breath, you’re easily winded, or you have periods of feeling dizzy and light-headed, talk to your doctor.
Upper Back PainPay attention to pain across the upper back that radiates out toward the shoulders. If the pain comes and goes, and is not related to a known injury such as a pulled muscle, talk to your doctor.
Chest pain or pressureLong before a full-fledged heart attack occurs, you may experience a tightening or pressure in the chest. It may feel like somebody is squeezing your heart. The feeling may come and go, and often lasts for a few minutes. If you experience this, call your doctor.
Paying close attention to your body could prevent a heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, request an appointment with your doctor right away.