About 735,000 Americans suffer heart attacks every year.

Do you know the signs of a heart attack? Recognizing them and acting immediately increase the odds of saving your life or that of someone you love.

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Telltale symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Pain, mainly in the chest but also in the shoulders, neck, arms, back, upper abdomen, and even the teeth and jaw
  • Heavy sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Lightheadedness
  • Loss of consciousness

One key sign is a feeling of fullness or clasping pain in the center of the chest. Survivors have compared it to the sensation of having an elephant stand on their chests.

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Some people dismiss the symptoms of a heart attack as indigestion or abdominal discomfort. But it’s important to listen to your body and seek medical attention if necessary.

If you suspect someone is having a heart attack:

People most at risk for heart attacks include those who have diabetes, are overweight or obese, drink heavily, have poor diets and/or don’t exercise.

Learn more about heart disease at the CDC’s website.

Beth Sawicki About the author:
Beth Sawicki is a content editor at Rare. Email her at
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