We’ve all seen when heart attacks happen in the movies. A character is walking along when, suddenly, they grab their chest – wincing with pain – and immediately tell someone, “Call 911! I’m having a heart attack!”
While that certainly does happen, the reality is that heart attacks can strike much more subtly – even happening to someone who otherwise might feel or seem completely healthy. Below are a few common – and often overlooked – signs that a heart attack may be approaching. If you have concerns about experiencing these symptoms, talk to your provider and ask questions about your risk factors so you can get a pulse on your heart health.
- Indigestion. For some of us, indigestion is an unfortunate everyday occurrence. But for others who may not have a history of indigestion, it can be a sign that a heart attack is approaching. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, this can be especially true for women. Stay alert for indigestion that is combined with jaw, chest or back pain, anxiety or excessive sweating.
- Discomfort in the Stomach, Neck or Jaw. If you experience neck or jaw pain not related to an injury, or stomach pain that you can’t pinpoint, it could be your body’s way of telling you that your heart needs attention. These symptoms may be combined with generalized weakness or lack of energy.
- Fatigue. Everyone feels fatigue from time to time. But if the fatigue doesn’t “feel right,” it could be a warning sign of heart trouble. Often, the fatigue doesn’t feel like anything you may have experienced before. There can be a generalized weakness associated with it, combined with other symptoms like shortness of breath. If you’re concerned, don’t ignore the symptoms. Get checked out. Even if you’re just feeling weaker than normal, it may be worth giving your provider a call to see what’s going on.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, call 9-1-1 (or text in Missoula County 9-1-1). EMS can put EKG leads on you so a cardiologist can remotely assess your symptoms. If necessary, they will get you to a hospital swiftly and safely. Do not drive, call 9-1-1, is the fastest and safest way to get care.