Most heart attacks begin with mild symptoms. The initial feeling is a degree of discomfort that often is not described as pain. The chest discomfort may come and go, and therefore many people may not realize what is actually happening. They may think it is heart burn or indigestion. It is important to recognize when you may be having a heart attack as it could save your life.
· Chest discomfort or pain: This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go.
· Anxiety: You may feel a sense of fear or feel as if you're having a panic attack for no apparent reason.
· Lightheadedness: You may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out.
· Sweating: You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin.
· Upper body pain: Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort.
· Stomach pain: Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn.
· Shortness of breath: You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort, or you may not experience any chest discomfort.
· Nausea and vomiting: You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit.
Heart disease key statistics
· Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States.
· In the United States, someone has a heart attack every 34 seconds. Every 60 seconds, someone in the United States dies from a heart disease-related event.
· About 720,000 people in the U.S. suffer heart attacks each year. Of these, 515,000 are a first heart attack and 205,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.
· It is the leading cause of death for people of most racial/ethnic groups in the United States, including African Americans, Hispanics and Whites. For Asian Americans or Pacific Islanders and American Indians or Alaska Natives, heart disease is second only to cancer.
· Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing nearly 380,000 people annually.