8 Heart Attack Early Warning Signs To Watch Out For

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that nearly 735,000 people experience a heart attack every year in the U.S. Heart disease kills up to 610,000 Americans each year. 

Heart attack is a serious medical emergency. It commonly affects people who are obese, with diabetes, on a poor diet, physically inactive and consume high amounts of alcohol. 

Fortunately, heart attack is preventable. Detecting the condition early may help reduce the risk of death and there are symptoms and warning signs that may appear even months before it strikes.

The CDC said nearly 47 percent of all sudden cardiac deaths in the U.S. occur outside a hospital. Monitoring warning signs and seeking treatments can help increase chances of survival.

Heart Attack Signs You Need To Know

Irregular Heartbeat

An irregular heartbeat that lasts 1 to 2 minutes may indicate a nearing heart attack. Skipped heart beats, or arrhythmias, also comes with anxiety, especially in women. 

If the sudden changes in your heartbeat make you dizzy and fatigued, see a doctor for immediate treatment. 

Excessive Sweating

People at high risk of heart attack may sweat more than normal during the day and at night. It may appear like a flu-like symptom, which occurs despite the right air temperature or minimal movements. 

This symptom commonly affects women.

Stomach Aches

Abdominal pain is diagnosed in 50 percent of cases of a heart attack. Both men and women may experience empty or full stomach nausea, feeling bloated or an upset stomach weeks before the cardiac problem. 

A common indication that abdominal pain is associated with a potential heart attack is that the condition stops and returns for short periods of time. 


It commonly affects more women than men. It can be a sign of a heart attack when you feel unusually exhausted despite doing minor activities. 

Estimates show 70 percent of women experience fatigue. It can cause extreme tiredness and lack of energy and motivation. The level of tiredness increases by the end of the day.

Breathing Problems

The condition called dyspnea occurs when people struggle to take a deep breath and get enough air into their lungs. It contributes to 40 percent of recorded heart attack cases. 

Dyspnea may start six months before a heart attack strikes, according to MyLondon


Many people who experienced heart attack reported having problems sleeping leading to the incident. They also felt high levels of anxiety and a lack of concentration.

Heart-related insomnia may involve difficulty initiating sleep, difficulty maintaining sleep and early-morning awakening.

Hair Loss

Hair loss is a well known effect of aging. However, in some cases it can also be a symptom of a heart attack. Experts said people suddenly lose hair due to higher levels of stress hormone cortisol in their body. 

Chest Pain

The pain normally affects the left arm, the lower jaw, neck, shoulders or stomach. However, it may be difficult to identify chest pain as a symptom of heart attack since only the patient can identify affected areas. 

When a person is having a heart attack, provide an aspirin to help thin the blood and improve its flow. However, it is important to ask if they are allergic to the medication to avoid other complications. 

Woman Woman with headache. Jose Navarro/flickr