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Emergency Services

Recognizing a Heart Attack

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort that may come and go. Even those who have had a heart attack may not recognize their symptoms, because the next attack can feel entirely different. Often people aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can indicate that a heart attack is occurring:
  • Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or 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 with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • A woman’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Take Action – Minutes Matter

If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack, every second counts. Here are some steps you should take if you suspect you are having a heart attack:
  • Recognize the symptoms: Don’t wait too long. Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, you should still have it checked out. Fast action can save lives.
  • Dial 911 quickly: This is the fastest way to get life-saving treatment and rapid transport to the Emergency Department—up to an hour sooner than going by car.
  • Rapid hospital intervention: The Chest Pain Center at Florida Hospital Zephyrhills is always open and ready for cardiac emergencies. Our Emergency Department and Cardiac Cath Lab teams are trained for rapid intervention and the treatment of heart attacks within minutes of your arrival.
The longer heart intervention care is delayed, the more heart muscle is damaged. Today, heart attack victims can benefit from new medications and treatments that can save heart muscle, reducing disability and saving lives.