8 heart attack signs and symptoms people should not ignore

By, New Delhi
Jun 07, 2023 09:34 AM IST

Dr Gaurav Gandhi, a noted cardiologist from Jamnagar, Gujarat, died at the age of 41 due to heart attack. Doctors on warning signs of heart attack.

Heart ailments are becoming common in people of all ages due to a range of reasons. Dr Gaurav Gandhi, a noted cardiologist from Jamnagar, Gujarat, died on June 6 (Tuesday) at the age of 41 due to heart attack. Actor Nitesh Pandey who's known for his role in Om Shanti Om and more recently TV serial Anupamaa, succumbed to heart attack in Nashik. He was 50. In the recent past, many personalities from the world of entertainment - young and old - lost their lives due to heart attack from Satish Kaushik, Sidharth Shukla, Puneeth Rajkumar, Singer KK, to Raju Srivastava. Heart attack also known as myocardial infarction occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is severely reduced or blocked. The blockage is may be due to buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances in the arteries. A heart attack can have mild, major or no symptoms. (Also read: Om Shanti Om actor Nitesh Pandey dies of suspected heart attack in a hotel)

Men are more prone to cardiac arrest than women, particularly those over the age of 45. (Freepik)
Men are more prone to cardiac arrest than women, particularly those over the age of 45. (Freepik)

Causes of heart ailments in India

"The growing incidences of cardiac arrest in India are a major cause of concern. There are various causes and reasons behind the increasing incidences of cardiac arrest in younger people in India. These include unhealthy lifestyle choices such as a lack of exercise, poor diet, smoking and alcohol consumption, stress and anxiety, and genetic predisposition to heart diseases. Men are more prone to cardiac arrest than women, particularly those over the age of 45. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of younger women suffering from heart diseases such as coronary artery disease and heart attack in recent years," says Dr Devendra Shrimal, Director Cardiology, Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Jaipur.

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"When a heart attack occurs, usually the patient will have chest pain in the central part but it could be only in the left side or only in the right side. The chest pain may or may not radiate to the left arm. If the pain or discomfort continues for more than 15-20 minutes, one should suspect a heart attack, and should go to emergency of a nearby hospital or go for ECG because it will tell you exact diagnosis of heart attack. Many times people don't have pain. It may only be abnormal chest discomfort. They can't even describe it properly. Sometimes it's just breathing difficulty which they never had before but particulary people with diabetes - they may not have chest pain, they may just have breathing difficulty. There are lot of patients who may have symptoms in the upper part of tummy, some discomfort. It's a pity that many of the patients think that it is a gas problem. So, if you don't have these symptoms before and they are new symptoms and they continue even after taking an antacid and they continue more than 20 minutes, please consider it could be a heart attack," says Dr TS Kler, Chairman, Fortis Heart and Vascular Institute, Fortis Memorial Research Institute, Gurugram in a telephonic conversation with HT Digital.

"The warning signs that people should watch out for are chest pain or discomfort such as feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness or burning in the chest, shortness of breath, unexplained sweating, nausea or vomiting, and fatigue. It is crucial to raise awareness about the importance of heart health and encourage people to adopt a healthy lifestyle to avoid or minimize the risk of cardiac arrest," adds Dr Shrimal.


Dr V. Vinoth, Sr. Consultant Interventional Cardiologist CARE Hospitals Hitech City, Hyderabad shares signs and symptoms of heart attack that people should not ignore as early medical intervention can improve chances of survival.

1. Chest discomfort

The most common and recognizable symptom of a heart attack is chest pain or discomfort. This sensation is often described as a tightness, pressure, or squeezing feeling in the centre or left side of the chest. It can be persistent or intermittent, lasting for a few minutes or coming and going. Most importantly that discomfort or pain will increase while patient is walking or climbing upstairs. It is essential to pay attention to any unusual or unexplained discomfort in the chest region.

2. Upper body pain

Heart attack symptoms may extend beyond the chest to other areas of the upper body. Pain or discomfort can radiate to the arms (usually the left arm), back, neck, jaw, or even the stomach. Sometimes they can have only throat pain which will increase during exercise or walking and decrease with rest. This pain may occur alongside or independent of chest discomfort. Any unexplained pain or discomfort in these regions should not be disregarded.

3. Shortness of breath

Difficulty in breathing or a feeling of shortness of breath can be indicative of a heart attack. This symptom can manifest even without chest pain and may occur at rest or during physical activity. Breathing difficulty during walking or during sleep is very important symptom which may be related to heart. If you find yourself struggling to catch your breath, it is important to consider the possibility of a heart attack.

4. Nausea and indigestion

Some individuals experiencing a heart attack may feel nauseous, or experience symptoms resembling indigestion. These symptoms are more common in women. If you have unexplained nausea or indigestion-like discomfort, particularly when accompanied by other potential signs of a heart attack, it is crucial to seek medical attention promptly. Don’t self-medicate. This is the most common reason for delay in seeking medical attention.

5. Profuse sweating

Unexplained or excessive sweating, often accompanied by cold and clammy skin, can be an alarming sign of a heart attack. This symptom is more frequently observed in men. If you suddenly break out in a profuse sweat without any apparent cause, it is important not to overlook it.

6. Fatigue and weakness

Feeling unusually tired, weak, or exhausted, especially with minimal physical exertion or during rest, can be an indication of a heart attack. If you find yourself experiencing extreme fatigue or weakness that is out of the ordinary, it is prudent to consider the possibility of a cardiac event.

7. Dizziness and light-headedness

Feeling dizzy or lightheaded, experiencing fainting spells, or having a sensation of nearly passing out can be a result of reduced blood flow to the heart. These symptoms should never be ignored and should prompt immediate medical attention.

8. Anxiety and panic

Emotional symptoms such as feelings of anxiety, fear, or impending doom can sometimes precede or accompany a heart attack. These psychological symptoms, particularly when combined with other warning signs, should not be dismissed.

"It is important to remember that symptoms can vary among individuals, and some people, especially women and older adults, may experience atypical or milder symptoms during a heart attack. However, any suspicion of a heart attack should be taken seriously. If you or someone around you experiences any of these signs, it is crucial to call emergency services immediately and seek prompt medical care. Timely intervention can make a significant difference in the outcome, potentially saving lives and minimizing heart damage," concludes Dr V. Vinoth.

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