What Are the Lesser-Known Signs of a Heart Attack?

It is common knowledge that emergency care is required if a person suddenly falls to the ground, clutching at his or her chest. But in actuality, heart attacks aren’t necessarily that easy to recognize and the symptoms may not always occur abruptly and simultaneously. Women, in particular, are more likely than men to experience very subtle warning signs that may develop days or even weeks before the cardiac event itself. The heart care team at MountainView Hospital encourages families to learn about the subtle signs of a heart attack to facilitate prompt emergency care.

Unusual Discomfort

Chest pain is certainly a major red flag of a heart attack. However, many heart attack survivors report suffering from discomfort elsewhere in the body. Women, in particular, may be more likely to suffer from pain or discomfort of the jaw, neck, and upper abdomen. Patients may experience pain in the shoulders and upper back, which may extend down one or both arms. Sometimes, the discomfort feels like numbness, but it may also feel like muscle tightness.

Flu-Like Symptoms

Flu-like symptoms are other possible warning signs that a patient requires emergency care at a nearby heart hospital. These symptoms may develop days or weeks before the heart attack. They can include nausea, body aches, chills, clammy, sweaty skin, and lightheadedness. Patients may report generalized weakness and dizziness.

Sleep Disturbances

Although fatigue and sleep disturbances can have many non-emergent causes, they are also sometimes caused by heart attacks. Patients may experience abnormal, extreme fatigue days or weeks before the heart attack. Despite being very tired, patients may have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep.

MountainView Hospital is an accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care—a designation that reflects our unrivaled commitment to providing high-quality emergency care for heart attack patients. Our heart hospital offers sophisticated medical interventions to residents of the Las Vegas area, including cardiovascular surgery, electrophysiology, and “rapid rule-out” of cardiac emergencies . Patients are urged to call 911 for medical emergencies; however, non-emergent inquiries may be directed to a registered nurse at (702) 233-5300.