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Know the Warning Signs of Stroke or Heart Attack

December 13, 2018

warning signs of stroke or heart attack

The American Heart Association has put together a list of warning signs for stroke, heart attack and cardiac arrest. Here are the basics to watch out for.

Symptoms of heart attacksHeart Attack Warning Signs

  • Chest discomfort - Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body - Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

  • Shortness of Breath - This can be a symptom with or without chest discomfort.

  • Other Signs - These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stroke Warning Signs

The sudden onset of the following could indicate someone is having a stroke:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially if confined to one side of the body

  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes

  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

  • Severe headache with no known cause

Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs

Look out for these symptoms to spot cardiac arrest:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness - no response to tapping on shoulders

  • Abnormal breathing - victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds

If these signs are present call 9-1-1 FAST!

Knowing the warning signs of stroke or heart attack is critical because these are life-and-death emergencies—so every second counts. If you see or have any of the listed symptoms, immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. Not all these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast!

Today, heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new heart medications and treatments. But to be effective, these drugs must be given quickly after symptoms first appear. So don't delay—get help right away!

You can also get more information from our guide, "2o Questions You Should Ask About A Heart Attack". In it, you'll find out what you can do today to decrease your risk.

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