About half of all people who have a heart attack experience early heart attack symptoms, which are often mild. However, if these symptoms are recognized and the person can get immediate treatment, in many cases the heart attack can be prevented.
Heart attacks often begin gradually, before the heart is damaged. The sooner someone who is having a heart attack can get care, the better his or her outcome will be.
Early symptoms of a heart attack are:
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Jaw pain
- Chest pressure
- Back pain
- Shortness of breath
While these are the most common early symptoms, someone having a heart attack may only experience a few – or none – of them.
Because the majority of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack, seeking early treatment is vital. If you believe you or someone you are with is having a heart attack, call 911.
Information adapted from the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care and used with permission.