Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). It’s estimated that one American dies every 37 seconds from cardiovascular disease. The most common type of heart disease among Americans is coronary artery disease, which can lead to a heart attack.
Most heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack. Therefore, it’s very important to act quickly if you are experiencing any heart attack symptoms. The Early Heart Attack Care™ (EHAC®) Program is a great resource from the American College of Cardiology to help you recognize the early and subtle signs of a heart attack before heart damage occurs.
Most Americans know about the most common heart attack symptoms which include chest discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, lightheadedness and pain extending to the shoulder, arm or back. However, many heart attack patients experience symptoms hours or even weeks before the actual attack.
Do you know the early signs of a heart attack?
If you identify any of these symptoms in yourself or in a loved one, they could be experiencing early signs of a heart attack. Take immediate action by calling your primary care provider or dialing 911 if symptoms are severe.
- Chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning
- Shortness of breath without exertion
- Back pain
- Nausea or vomiting
- Excessive fatigue or weakness
- Jaw pain
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Feeling of fullness
When they first start, these symptoms can be mild or come and go. However, over time the symptoms can become more intense. Recognizing these early signs of a heart attack may help you save a life.