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Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

If you are experiencing heart attack symptoms in Raleigh, NC, don't take chances: Get to the nearest chest pain center immediately. The Rex Chest Pain Center is accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers.

According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the number one cause of death for both men and women in the United States. While a heart attack can occur at any age, the risk increases for men older than 45 years old and women older than 50. In addition to age, other factors that increase the risk of heart attack include:

Rex Heart and Vascular Center is well-experienced in cardiac care. In fact, Rex has cared for more Wake County hearts than any other hospital. And Rex Heart and Vascular skilled cardiac professionals utilize a high touch, high tech approach to caring for you and your loved ones.

Heart Attack Symptoms

In the movies, heart attack victims often clutch their chest in pain and keel over. But in reality, most heart attacks start slowly as mild pain or discomfort. Any of these may be "classic heart attack symptoms" for men or women:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back
  • Discomfort or pain in the upper body, one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat or sweating
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness

In addition to classic heart attack symptoms, women may one or more of the following symptoms:

  • Tightness, squeezing or pressure in the chest, throat, upper abdomen or neck
  • Nausea and indigestion-like symptoms including heartburn or an upset stomach
  • A numbing or tingling sensation in the left arm
  • Difficulty breathing or shortness of breath that occurs with or without exertion
  • Waking during the night out of breath
  • Unexplained severe anxiety, fatigue and/or overall lack of energy

If you experience any of these symptoms or think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. During a heart attack, a clot blocks the flow of blood to your heart. The longer you delay medical attention, the greater the damage to your heart muscle.

Risk Factors

There are several factors that put some people at a higher risk for having a heart attack. These include:

  • A previous heart attack
  • Family history of early heart disease
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity
  • Rapid heartbeat, cold sweat breakouts and/or paleness

Decrease Your Risk

To decrease your risk of heart attack, both men and women should:

  • Eliminate tobacco use
  • Regulate a healthy blood pressure level
  • Control cholesterol, LDL,HDL and triglyceride levels
  • Control your blood sugars if you have diabetes
  • Eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish
  • Maintain a healthy weight for your age and height
  • Get involved in regular physical activity that you enjoy

Being Prepared Can Save Your Life

If you are at high risk, it's a good idea to plan now what you would do if you had a heart attack. Along with learning the heart attack warning signs, you should:

  • Talk to your doctor about your risk and learn what you can do to reduce it
  • Decide what you would do at home, work or other places if you have heart attack symptoms
  • Figure out who would care for your kids or other dependents in an emergency
  • Talk with your family and friends about heart attack warning signs

 Rex Healthcare’s Chest Pain Center is nationally accredited by the Society of Chest Pain Centers