Patient Comments: Heart attack - Symptoms

The symptoms of heart attack can vary greatly from patient to patient. What were your symptoms at the onset of your disease?

A Doctor's View on 12 Heart Attack Symptoms and Early Warning Signs

Read the Comment by Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Recognizing heart attack symptoms and signs can help save your life or that of someone you love. Some heart attack symptoms, including left arm pain and chest pain, are well known but other, more nonspecific symptoms may be associated with a heart attack. Nausea, vomiting, malaise, indigestion, sweating, shortness of breath, and fatigue may signal a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms and signs in women may differ from those in men. Read the entire Doctor's View

Comment from: Did You Die, Male (Patient) Published: January 12

My heart attack happened just one week before my 52nd birthday. I'm active and considered myself to be in decent shape. As a matter of fact, I ran 5K the morning of my heart attack. I had no early signs; no elevated blood pressure, no signs of fatigue, etc. At 5:00 pm one Sunday afternoon I began experiencing a pain in the middle of my chest. I've had heartburn before and I usually take Zantac for it when I have a flare up. I had just finished a leftover ham sandwich so I was attributing the heartburn (or so I thought) to that. After taking the Zantac and getting no results, I began to get nauseated, sweating and my skin became cold and clammy. I began to sense I may be in trouble and sought help. I made it to the hospital at 6:00 pm and went into cardiac arrest at 6:08 pm. I was defibrillated 4 times, as I was later informed, to get me back. Doctors administered TPA (tissue plasminogen activator) as there was another heart attack victim undergoing surgery at that time. The TPA was successful in clearing the clot around my heart. Tuesday afternoon I was back at the house, sore, but as if nothing ever happened. The best advice I can give is to listen to your body. If you're experiencing things you're not normally feeling, seek help immediately. I almost waited too long and orphaned my two children.

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Comment from: Kiefer, 45-54 Female (Caregiver) Published: January 31

My significant other of 14 years died suddenly of a massive heart attack while we were having sex. When I tried to give CPR it was like pushing on a flat tire, I wonder why his head went so purple/red.

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Comment from: marivelgonzalez, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: October 11

My right arm hurts a lot. I'm only 44 years old and I have CHF (congestive heart failure) and I am diabetic.

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Comment from: clover, 35-44 Female (Patient) Published: February 18

I experience pain in my chest, it gets really tight, then lets up, then gets really tight again, and this lasts for about 2 to 3 minutes. I experienced this again last night and now today my left arm hurts, it feels like a burning sensation going down my shoulder and arm. I am worried this could be symptom of heart attack.

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Comment from: Judy, 55-64 Female (Patient) Published: December 01

Before the heart attack, I had high blood pressure and pressure in the heart area for 2 days.

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Comment from: donmejm, 75 or over Male (Patient) Published: September 04

I had my MI (myocardial infarction) after cutting and dumping wood. I experienced intense pressure in the center of my chest and was extremely short of breath. Also, experienced onset of heavy sweats. I was with a son who had me in emergency room (ER) in 15 minutes where the ER crew immediately diagnosed MI and administered emergency treatment. I was transported to cardiac unit in nearby medical center and had two stents placed. Another stent was placed in a 95% blockage 6 weeks later. I went through cardio rehabilitation for 5 weeks and felt great. Problem now is a consistent fading of energy every 3 to 4 days and the 'downer' lasts for a day to a day and a half, consistently week after week. Weakness may occur during the day on any day and then fade away. I wonder why this seemingly regular weakness is settling in as a way of life now.

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Comment from: mezzoola, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: March 27

I am a 48 year old female. In December of 2012 I experienced squeezing in my chest and left arm on two occasions the same day. These symptoms happened after a stressful event, not physical exertion. The first attack happened while I was relaxing with a friend eating lunch. I went to the emergency room (ER), they tested blood enzymes and they were slightly elevated. They told me those numbers could be my ´┐Żnormal´┐Ż and dismissed my symptoms as gastric and sent me home. A week later I had a similar episode of what I now know to be angina, while going for a walk. I let it pass and didn"t do anything more until April, yes April! I was growing more and more uneasy and believe I was having such mild angina, 3 to 4 times a day but it was so mild as to be almost imperceptible. On April 7th, yes, 4 months later, I went for a purposeful walk to see if I could induce an angina attack, still not knowing what that was! I was able to do so although the symptoms were still milder than what I had experienced after a very stressful time in December. I went to the ER again. All tests were normal except the slightly elevated heart enzymes again. They still didn"t believe anything was wrong with me being female and low risk although my dad had double bypass at 59. I am ex-smoker, blood pressure normal-high but my cholesterol profile was better than normal. I"m thin, fit, eat well and they just didn"t believe it. They did an angiogram only because they had exhausted everything, every other test, because I was still having mild symptoms. They did not expect to find anything. I was not surprised in the least when they found a 95% blockage of my LAD (left anterior descending artery); yes, I was a walking time bomb. I did not have a heart attack, nor damage to my heart so I am very lucky; I have one stent. All of the medical experts looked at me in disbelief. So, a year out I am doing very well but am extremely paranoid and anxious about mild symptoms. I find exercise to be the best tonic. It"s hard to find the balance between listening to your body and paranoia but I"m working on it every day. Don"t ignore mild symptoms.

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Heart Attack - Treatments Question: What was the treatment for your heart attack?
Heart Attack - Diagnosis Question: Please describe the events that led to a diagnosis of a heart attack. What tests and exams did you have?

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