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Harvard Medical School
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General Medical Questions
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Question : What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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August 31, 2011
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A:

The classic symptoms of a heart attack are:

  • Chest pain – a squeezing steady pain in the middle of the chest
  • Pain in the left arm and hand
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating

Although these are the classic symptoms, today most people have only one or two of these symptoms. Sometimes people have very different symptoms, such as:

  • Upper abdominal pain
  • Neck and jaw pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Dizziness, or a feeling like you might pass out

Men are more likely to experience the classic symptoms of a heart attack. This is less true for women.

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