Many people think that a heart attack “just” happens and that the first sign is chest pain going down the left arm. This is not always the case because there are many symptoms that may happen days, even weeks, that are leading up to a heart attack. These symptoms can be different in men, older adults, and women.
Here are some of the symptoms that many people not only miss but also ignore, that could be a sign a heart attack is impending.
- Nausea or indigestion—this is one of the symptoms that are usually ignored the most. It can range from mild indigestion to nausea that is severe to vomiting and cramping. Most to of the time these are not caused by an impending heart attack but you should not ignore them, especially if there is no particular reason for you to have these symptoms.
- Shoulder, neck, jaw, ear pain—many times before a person has a heart attack they feel pain in their shoulder or neck area and feel like it is going along the jaw and up to the ear.
- Sexual dysfunction—the arteries around your heart can become narrow and harden and so can the arteries around a man’s penis so if you are having trouble keeping or achieving an erection, this could be a sign. It is a sign in men with coronary artery disease.
- Fatigue or exhaustion—being extremely fatigued that lasts for several days could be another sign. If you are a normally energetic person, being sidelined with strong fatigue should be addressed with your physician.
- Dizziness and breathlessness—if your heart does not get enough blood, it is also not getting enough oxygen. If you do not have enough oxygen enriched blood circulating in your body you get the feeling of not being able to draw a satisfying deep breath and become dizzy and lightheaded.
- Leg pain or swelling—if your heart muscle is not working right the waste products are not carried away from your tissues by the blood which could result in fluid retention causing swelling. It usually starts in your feet, legs, and ankles
- Anxiety, sleeplessness, and insomnia—this is a hard symptom to explain but some who have had heart attacks remember the sudden in ability to sleep weeks, even a month, before they had a heart attack. Some even reported that they felt wired or “keyed up” with a racing heart.
- Flu-like symptoms—some people have felt fatigued, weak, clammy, etc which they associated with the flu but were actually having a heart attack.
- Rapid-fire heart rate or pulse—this is a little known symptom of a pending heart attack. This symptom can happen suddenly and you feel like you heart is beating very fast like you have been running uphill but you haven’t. It can last just a few seconds or longer. Some think these are panic attacks.
You should watch for clusters of these symptoms. If you just do not feel right, see your physician. It is better to be safe than dead.