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Early Heart Attack Signs

Most people having a heart attack wait too long to seek medical help, and that can be a fatal mistake. Patient delay, rather than transport or hospital delay, is the biggest cause of not receiving rapid care for heart attacks.

Men and women often experience different symptoms of a heart attack...know the warning signs!

MEN...
often but not always, experience the classic warning signs of a heart attack:

WOMEN...
may experience the classic symptoms, but they are often milder. Women may also other symptoms like:
  • manUncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain the center of the chest that goes away and comes back
  • Pain in the shoulder that spreads to the shoulders, neck and arms
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
  • Trigger: Men most often report physical exertion prior to heart attacks
woman
  • Shortness of breath of difficulty breathing
  • Nausea, vomiting or dizziness
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
  • Mild flu-like symptoms
  • Trigger: Women most often report emotional stress prior to heart attacks

People often take a a wait-and-see approach, delaying medical attention because they: 

  • Do not understand the symptoms of a heart attack and think that what they are feeling is due to something else. Less than 10% of people experience typical signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Are afraid or unwilling to admit that their symptoms could be serious.
  • Are embarrassed about "causing a scene," or going to the hospital and finding out it is a false alarm. Remember, 25% of patients - particularly those with diabetes - will not have the classic symptoms. 
  • Do not understand the importance of getting to the hospital right away. The survival rates are improved up to 50% if treatment is received within 1 hour of symptom onset and 25% if within 3 hours.

During a heart attack, every minute costs more heart muscle. That’s why Summa has dramatically cut the time it takes to stabilize a patient in our ERs, safely transport them to a Summa cath lab, and unblock their coronary artery.

In fact, Summa Health System includes the only hospital in Akron or Cleveland to earn AHA designation as a Lifeline Heart Attack Receiving Center.* 

If we can treat the worst emergency this fast, imagine how well we can treat yours.

In an emergency, always dial 911.

Early Heart Attack Care Oath