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Top warning signs you may be having a heart attack

Jan 17, 2012, 6 a.m.

Knowing if you're experiencing heart attack symptoms before an actual heart attack occurs is critical, and can save your life. If you or someone you know is experiencing any of the early warning signs below, seek heart attack treatment immediately by calling 911 or getting to an emergency room.

Chest pain, tightness, or discomfort. Heart attack symptoms don't always manifest themselves in a debilitating pain in the chest. They can show earning warning signs as an aching in the center of the chest, or a tightness. These can sometimes come and go, but when they come they may last as long as a few minutes.

Pain in your upper body, including both arms, your shoulders, back, neck, jaw and even teeth. These heart attack symptoms might arrive with no associated chest pain or discomfort and should be taken seriously and cared for right away.

Stomach pain that may sometimes be mistaken for very strong heartburn. Granted, not everyone that gets a stomach ache is in danger of having a heart attack -- but unless the pain in your stomach is the only symptom you're experiencing, get medical attention.

Shortness of breath. Panting and the inability to catch your breath often manifests itself even before any pain or discomfort has been experienced and can be a precursor to a heart attack.

Unexplainable sweating. Many times, people in need of immediate heart attack treatment will break into a cold sweat for no apparent reason. This can also be accompanied by cold and clammy skin.

Vomiting. Yet another of the many tricky to identify heart attack symptoms is nausea or vomiting. If you experience this with other symptoms, it's possible you could be experiencing early warning signs.

Dizziness. Usually this is accompanied by chest pain or discomfort, and should be taken as a sign that you need to get medical help immediately.

Sudden, unprovoked anxiety akin to a panic attack can also be the calling card of an approaching heart attack and should be taken seriously if felt in combination with any of the above listed heart attack symptoms.

What to Do

If you're experiencing some or all of the symptoms listed above, you might be tempted to not take any action to see if they clear up on their own. This is a fatal mistake that's made all too often by people who are much more willing to take a chance than to risk embarrassment or an unnecessary trip to the emergency room. When in doubt, always play it safe by getting medical attention.

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