Heart attack and stroke (brain attack) signs and symptoms

Heart attack and stroke (brain attack) signs and symptoms

Heart Attack

Not every heart attack starts with crushing chest pain. Women in particular often have mild symptoms that gradually worsen. They may never feel severe pain. If you’re at risk for heart disease, and experience any of the following symptoms, seek medical attention immediately by calling 9-1-1.

Potential signs of heart attack:

  • Pain or discomfort in chest
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders, neck back or jaw
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Feel light-headed, weak or faint
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea or vomiting

The most common signs of women’s heart attack:

  • Unusual fatigue – more than 70 percent of women reported the symptom
  • Sleep disturbances
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion
  • Anxiety

Stroke (Brain Attack)

Stroke symptoms develop suddenly. Recognizing the signs and symptoms quickly and seeking immediate medical treatment can lessen the chance of serious damage. Remember time lost is brain lost. 

Signs and symptoms of stroke

  • Sudden numbness or weakness on one side of your body, especially face, arm and/or leg
  • Sudden trouble talking, thinking, or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking
  • Sudden dizziness
  • Sudden loss of balance
  • Sudden severe headache

If any of these symptoms occur, do not wait! Call 9-1-1 and note the time symptoms started.

Think F.A.S.T. to recognize stroke (brain attack) signs and symptoms

  • Face drooping. Is one side of the face drooping or numb? Ask the person to smile.
  • Arm weakness. Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech difficulty. Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?
  • Time to call 9-1-1. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go way, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.


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