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Ask someone what’re the most common heart attack symptoms and they’re likely to clutch at their chests with one hand, wave the other wildly in the air, all the while clinching their eyes and struggling to remain standing. We learned these dramatic symptoms by watching the theatrics of actors on the stage and screen, acting out a heart attack with practice and perfection.
But when it comes to a heart attack, no one wants enough practice to make perfect, whatever that’s supposed to be. In real life, heart attack symptoms may not be as dramatic as those we see for the purpose of entertainment but they’re pretty dramatic, nonetheless, when they are happening to us.
In the last few years, the medical establishment has determined that heart attack symptoms differ between the genders. Men are more likely to suffer the agonizing scene depicted by professional actors while women are more likely to experience less dramatic symptoms.
Chest pain is the most classic of heart attack symptoms but the pain varies from patient to patient. Some men report pain in one area of the body or pain that radiates from the chest outward to shoulders and arms, up through the neck and into the face, teeth, and jaws, and down into the belly and the back. Women don’t often report this experience.
In addition to the overwhelming chest pains famously acknowledged as one of the main heart attack symptoms, in men particularly, is the sensation of being squeezed in the area of the chest. This squeezing sensation has been described as a band squeezing ever-tighter around the chest area, heavy pressure settling in, or something very heavy sitting on the chest.
Heart attack symptoms also include shortness of breath, coughing, feelings of dizziness or lightheadedness, anxiety, and fainting. Other symptoms frequently noted include severe indigestion, nausea and vomiting, and profuse sweating.
The degree of pain or distress associated with any of these symptoms must not be overlooked. In many cases, the discomfort is mild but a heart attack is occurring anyway. Some men experience what is known as a silent heart attack, where there is little, if any, associated chest pain.
Heart attack symptoms need not be severe, prolonged, or debilitating to call for some serious measures. Always consult your physician or seek help at the nearest emergency medical facility as soon as any symptoms become apparent. The sooner a heart attack victim gets treatment, the more likely a happy outcome.