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A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the heart is cut off for a prolonged period of time. This can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle or death.
When you wonder if it’s a heart attack
If you think you are having a heart attack, act quickly. Coronary artery disease sometimes won’t give you a second chance. In one out of three people, the first warning sign of a heart attack is death.
If you are having symptoms of a heart attack—pain in your chest, pain radiating down your left arm, or indigestion and a funny feeling that something is wrong—act immediately. Don’t wait an hour or two to see if you feel better. Call 9-1-1 for an ambulance. The paramedics can help diagnose and stabilize you in the ambulance. If you reach the door of the hospital by ambulance, the death rate for heart attacks is down to under 5 percent.
Coronary artery disease is preventable. The cardiologists of University of Minnesota Physicians Heart are a talented group committed to patient care and safety.
Heart attacks can be sudden or intense, but most begin slowly. If you think you may be having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.
Common warning signs of a heart attack
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, tightness, heaviness or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes
- Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, arms or jaw
- Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
Less common warning signs of a heart attack
- Stomach or abdominal pain; indigestion-like discomfort in the chest, especially with activity
- Nausea or dizziness
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness