Chest pain isn’t the only sign of a heart attack. Your body presents many warning signals that could be a heart attack or could be other health problems. Knowing how to read these signs could save your life. In this post, we’ll show you five of the most important heart-related symptoms.
1. Pinched Nerve or Heart Attack?
Sometimes tingling down one or both arms or legs means you’ve got a pinched nerve or arthritis in your neck. But tingling in your extremities could also signal a heart attack — and should be checked by a physician.
2. Stomach Flu or Heart Attack?
An upset stomach alone isn’t a heart-related symptom. But if your stomach bug is accompanied by shortness of breath, a cold sweat, or pain in your chest or back — it could indicate a heart problem.
3. Panic Attack or Heart Attack?
Panic attacks and heart attacks share many of the same symptoms —shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, even tingling in the extremities. So how can you distinguish between them? Panic attacks are often triggered by a stressful event, can be accompanied by trembling and intense terror, and usually pass within five minutes. If your panic attack symptoms persist, then it’s time to visit the ER for a heart check.
4. Dental Pain or Heart Pain?
Many people are surprised to learn that jaw pain can be far more serious than a dental problem. Why? Your jaw’s nerves lie close to the ones that come out of your heart. One important difference to look for: if pain is constant, you probably have a dental problem; if it pops up intermittently and gets worse, it’s more likely heart-related.
5. Heartburn or Heart Attack?
Discomfort or burning in your chest or back is often thought to be indigestion or heartburn. But if it doesn’t come on shortly after a meal, and if you don’t normally have indigestion, then it may signify a heart problem and should be checked promptly by a physician. The Mayo Clinic offers an excellent primer on the differences between heartburn and heart illness.
For more detailed information on heart-related symptoms, please read these excellent resources: the American Heart Association’s 911 Signs of a Heart Attack, and Health.com’s feature on heart symptoms.