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What does a heart attack feel like?


Symptoms of a heart attack vary, but some of the most common include the following:

• Pain, pressure, or a feeling of fullness in the chest that persists for longer than a few minutes or recurs. Symptoms can sometimes be mistaken for heartburn.

• Pain in the arms, left shoulder, back or jaw

• Nausea, dizziness or lightheadedness

• Cold sweats

• Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath

As opposed to a sudden, gripping pain, oftentimes the symptoms of a heart attack come on slowly and many patients don’t recognize the warning signs. Women, in particular, are vulnerable to heart attack because they are more likely to experience symptoms such as nausea, dizziness, jaw pain and shortness of breath, which may be mistaken for other illnesses.

If you experience these symptoms, it is vital that you call 9-1-1 immediately, instead of driving yourself to the hospital. Every second can count toward saving your life and preventing permanent damage to your heart and other organs. Not only can EMS make a preliminary diagnosis as soon as the ambulance arrives, but they can prepare the Emergency Department and cardiac unit of your arrival, expediting your treatment.

If you would like more information on cardiac care or to find a cardiologist who is right for you, call HealthFinder at East Jefferson General Hospital at 504.456.5000 or go to www.ejgh.org.

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