Heart attacks occur when there is a sudden blockage in blood flow to your heart. When this happens, your heart doesn’t get oxygen. If your heart doesn’t get oxygen quickly, parts of your heart muscle can begin to die.
In both men and women, the most common heart attack warning sign is chest pain. People usually feel discomfort in the center of the chest. It might feel like pressure, fullness or squeezing. In some people, the pain lasts for several minutes or longer. For others, the pain comes and goes.
Additional heart attack symptoms
Crushing chest pain is what many of us imagine is the first sign of a heart attack. Many common symptoms are more subtle, including:
- Pain in the neck, back, jaw or arms
- Shortness of breath
- Cold sweat
- Lightheadedness, dizziness
Most importantly, don’t wait
Your health can’t wait. If you or someone near you is experiencing heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately.
It’s important to know where your nearest emergency room is. Adventist Health Portland’s ER is conveniently located near I-205 and I-84. As part of the OHSU Health partnership, the ER is staffed by OHSU providers who specialize in emergency medicine. They are assisted by Adventist Health’s compassionate nurses and support staff who work behind the scenes to ensure you get the best care possible.
Learning about your risk
If you’re concerned about being at-risk for heart attack or have other questions about your heart health, schedule an appointment with one of our cardiology team members.