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Warning Signs and Symptoms

Heart and blood vessel disease is our nation’s No. 1 killer. About 325,000 people a year die of coronary attack before they get to an emergency room. But many of those deaths can be prevented — by acting fast!

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Call 911 if you have any of these warning signs.

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain or even heartburn or indigestion.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. May occur with or without chest discomfort. Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Symptoms of Heart Failure

If you develop a new sign or symptom or if you have any of these symptoms that suddenly become worse, it may indicate that you have a problem with heart failure or that your heart failure is getting worse or not responding to treatment. Contact your doctor immediately or call 911 if it is an emergency.  

  • Fatigue and weakness. Dizziness, feeling faint or sweaty.
  • Shortness of breath when you exert yourself or lie down.
  • Waking up at night short of breath.
  • Wheezing or cough that is persistent or does not go away. Cough can be dry or with pink, frothy sputum.
  • Swelling of feet, ankles, lower legs, face, neck or abdomen.
  • Weight gain (3 pounds in a day or 5 pounds in a week)
  • Lack of appetite or nausea
  • Palpitations, fast or irregular heart beat

Symptoms of Peripheral Artery Disease

Call your doctor for an appointment if you have any of these symptoms since Peripheral Artery Disease (PAD) increases your risk of heart attack and stroke.

  • Painful cramping in the hips, thighs or calves when walking, climbing or exercising.
  • Foot or ankle wounds that will not heal or heal slowly and/or develop gangrene.
  • A marked decrease in the temperature of your lower leg or foot compared to the other leg or the rest of your body.