Will you recognize the symptoms of a heart attack?

The following article is from the Canadian Chiropractic Association website. Author: CCA Staff Team

heart attack symptomsTaking care of your heart is an important part of overall health, and everything from nutrition to your spine, muscle, and nervous system care can impact your cardiovascular system.

Unfortunately, even healthy and active people can still have a risk for heart disease. Taking a proactive approach to your heart health can potentially reduce your risk of an attack, and improve your chances of survival and recovery if an attack does happen.

Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack is the first step in making sure that care is administered in a timely fashion.

Here are some early symptoms of a heart attack:

  • mild pain or discomfort in your chest that may come and go, which is also called “stuttering” chest pain
  • pain in your shoulders, neck, and jaw
  • sweating
  • nausea or vomiting
  • light-headedness or fainting
  • breathlessness
  • a feeling of “impending doom”
  • severe anxiety or confusion


Women and Heart Attacks

Did you know most women don’t experience the classic chest pain you’d expect from a heart attack?1 Men and women can have varying symptoms, so it’s also important to know how a heart attack can present differently between genders.

Symptoms of heart attack in women include:

  • unusual fatigue lasting for several days or sudden severe fatigue
  • sleep disturbances
  • anxiety
  • light-headedness
  • shortness of breath
  • indigestion or gas-like pain
  • upper back, shoulder, or throat pain
  • jaw pain or pain that spreads up to your jaw
  • pressure or pain in the centre of your chest, which may spread to your arm


Men and Heart Attacks

Things have changed a lot in medical guidelines over recent years. Classic guides on heart attack symptoms from past decades would highlight symptoms most often observed in men. New research and heightened awareness have allowed scientists to differentiate these varied gender symptoms. Given that history, the list below might seem a bit more familiar.

Symptoms of a heart attack in men include:

  • standard chest pain that feels like “an elephant” is sitting on your chest, with a squeezing sensation that may come and go or remain constant and intense
  • upper body pain or discomfort, including arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • rapid or irregular heartbeat
  • stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
  • shortness of breath, which may leave you feeling like you can’t get enough air, even when you’re resting
  • dizziness or feeling like you’re going to pass out
  • breaking out in a cold sweat

Be sure to schedule regular checkups with all of your health practitioners, especially if you have a family history of heart conditions. To learn more about how to keep your heart healthy, visit our past blog posts:

  1. Heart Health – The Importance of Cardiovascular Health
  2. Fit-in-15 for Heart Health
  3. 5 Plant Foods to Help Protect Your Heart


1Heart Attack Symptoms in Women. American Heart Association website. Last updated December 5, 2017. Accessed February 1, 2018.
2Warning Signs of a Heart Attack. American Heart Association website. Last updated January 11, 2018. Accessed February 1, 2018.
evolvevitalityWill you recognize the symptoms of a heart attack?

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