What Are The Early Signs Of A Heart Attack?

If you are experiencing any of these signs, call 911 now.

Did you know heart attacks have “beginnings”?

Not every heart attack displays the typical warning signs of extreme chest pain and a shooting pain down the left arm. Sometimes, a warning can be as subtle as heartburn or shortness of breath. Yet, these atypical symptoms, especially in women, too often are dismissed or downplayed as a less serious condition. Paying attention to the little things your body is trying to tell you can help prevent an attack and significant damage to your heart.

Learning the signs could save a life!

The first hour is vitally important after a heart attack because as time continues, more heart muscle is damaged and treatments become less effective. Early heart attack care is knowing the subtle danger signs of a heart attack and acting upon them immediately – before heart damage occurs!

So what are the early symptoms I should be looking for?

Frequent heart attack warning signs include:

  • chest discomfort (pressure, burning, aching or tightness) lasting several minutes
  • unusual shortness of breath
  • upper body discomfort (jaw or neck pain)
  • nausea
  • unusual fatigue


What should I do if I suspect I or someone I know may be having a heart attack?

Call 911.

Every minute counts when having a heart attack. Your local ambulance is more than a transport vehicle. The EMS team is well- equipped to get you access to life-saving treatment right away, including an onboard EKG that can send your results to the hospital ahead of arrival. 

Heart Disease Statistics

Heart disease is the No. 1 cause of death in the United States. Approximately 1.2 million Americans suffer a heart attack each year, with nearly a third of them resulting in death. Heart disease causes approximately 1 of every 4 deaths in the United States. About 50% of sudden cardiac deaths occur outside a hospital. Survey results show that only 27% of the respondents were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1. 85% of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack.

Find a Physician

Meet the team at St. Joseph's/Candler

Our team of highly-skilled doctors are experienced in many aspects of healthcare from primary care to emergent care to specialty care. Find a physician that meets your needs.

How can we help you?