The symptoms of a heart attack aren’t the same for everyone. Sometimes heart attacks are sudden and excruciating, but most of the time, they start out slow with mild discomfort.

According to the American Heart Association, the most common symptoms of a heart attack are listed below.

Chest Pain or Discomfort

In most heart attacks, this discomfort (also known as angina) is felt in the center of the chest, typically lasting more than a few minutes, or going away and coming back.

Pain or Discomfort in Other Areas

The onset of a heart attack can be associated with pain in parts of the upper body, including one or both arms, back, left shoulder, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of Breath

Someone experiencing a heart attack could have difficulty breathing, which may occur with or immediately before chest discomfort.

Other Possible Symptoms

  • cold sweat
  • nausea
  • lightheadedness

Symptoms in Men & Women

Sometimes men and women experience heart attack symptoms differently. The most common symptom for both genders is chest pain, but women are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, and pain in other parts of the body, particularly the back or jaw.

Addressing Symptoms Quickly

Most importantly, if you are experiencing any heart attack symptoms, get help immediately. Heart attack treatments are most effective if started within one hour of when symptoms appear. Many people ignore the symptoms of a heart attack for too long and it proves fatal. Call 911 for immediate medical attention and rapid transport to the hospital.