Know the signs of a heart attack


February 11, 2011

Many older adults worry about their risk for heart attacks, but may not know the actual symptoms of the condition. Warning signs can vary, especially for women, which means that it's important to be well-informed, according to

If one is concerned about their risk, it may be best to also invest in a personal emergency response system. This device can be used to immediately send a medical alert to doctors if in the event of an unexpected health condition. These are some of the top signs of an impending heart attack:

1. Pain or Pressure in Chest. An uncomfortable, squeezing sensation in the chest should be cause for alarm, particularly if it lasts for more than five minutes. The sensation may not be painful, it could only cause discomfort.

2. Unable to Catch Your Breath. A shortness of breath that occurs even if one isn't doing anything strenuous can also be a sign of a heart attack. This symptom generally follows chest pain.

3. Nausea. Women are more likely to feel this symptom than men if they are about to suffer a heart attack.

4. Pain in Shoulder or Arm. A pain in the left arm is one of the biggest signs, but this sensation can occur in shoulders, arms, or neck. It can feel like an ache or pressure on the affected area.

5. Jaw and Throat Pain. Sometimes, there is a strangling sensation around the neck that travels to the jaw. Cardiologist Pamela Ouyang told the news provider that some individuals go to the dentist because their mouth hurts so much that they think they have a tooth ache.

6. Unusual Exhaustion. Abnormal fatigue is another sign of a possible heart attack.

7. Cold Sweat. This occurs when one starts to sweat, despite low temperatures.

8. Dizziness. If one feels like they are going to faint, the feeling could be associated with a heart attack.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that February is American Heart Month, and encourages every American to carefully monitoring their heart health. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States – last year, approximately 785,000 individuals across the country suffered from a coronary attack.

Diet and exercise are the most important factors in reducing one's chance of a heart attack.