Although a heart attack can vary in intensity, there are some common symptoms that people can experience. As more and more signs are checked off, it is more likely that you will need to go to a hospital’s accident and emergency (A&E) department. The British Heart Foundation (BHF) explained that people have different pain thresholds, which is why symptoms can differ in severity. Some pains may feel an uncomfortable sensation in the chest – similar to indigestion, if accompanied by a burning sensation.
It is a warning sign of a heart attack; others may describe it as “a pressure, a squeeze or a heaviness” in the chest.
The key factor is that the chest discomfort does not go away and then spread to another part of the body, such as:
- The neck
- The back
- The arms (one or both)
These symptoms alone warrant a quick call to 999, who will likely dispatch an ambulance if they believe you are at risk.
Other clues that you might be having a heart attack include feeling nauseous.
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If an ambulance is dispatched to you, it will be helpful to take aspirin if available, sit down, rest, and try to relax until the ambulance arrives.
“If you’re with someone who has symptoms of a heart attack but they push back or refuse to call an ambulance, it’s really important that you call one for them,” the BHF added.
Is it a heart attack or indigestion?
Since a heart attack can be like indigestion, how can you tell the difference?
The main difference is that indigestion follows a meal – a heart attack can happen at any time.
Additionally, indigestion can cause a bitter taste in the mouth, which is usually caused by overeating or eating too fast.
Indigestion can usually be resolved by taking medication for the condition and drinking water.
Is it angina or a heart attack?
Some people suffer from angina, which is basically chest pain caused by coronary artery disease.
Angina can also cause chest pain that spreads to the arms, neck, stomach, or jaw.
This type of chest pain means that the blood supply to the heart is limited by narrowed arteries.
Symptoms of angina can be caused by:
- Emotional upheaval
- Cold temperature
- After a meal