5 Overlooked Heart Attack Symptoms

By Lori Johnston, AgingCare.com

February is a month when folks focus on matters of the heart, but it’s not just about falling in love. February is also American Heart Month. When it comes to our loved ones, we’re concerned about potential heart attacks, and that can happen year-round.

Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of men and women in the United States, claiming more than 800,000 Americans annually, according to the American Heart Association.

Heart attack is to blame for more than 40 percent of those deaths, as about 325,000 people die before they reach the ER or hospital, the American Heart Association says.

But many of those deaths can be prevented, and February – American Heart Month – is a good time to become more aware of the signs of a heart attack.

Heart Attack: Warning Signs and Risk Factors

Most folks know to look for typical symptoms, such as chest discomfort, pain in the arms or back and shortness of breath.

But some victims of a heart attack don’t experience chest pain. That’s how heart attacks get their reputations as silent killers.

“It’s not always easy, even for a physician, to know when someone is having a heart attack,” says Dr. Travis Stork, an ER physician and co-host of the popular TV show “The Doctors.”

Read More:
How the Heart Grows Old
Understanding Coronary Artery Disease
How the Heart Works

Silent Killers: 5 Overlooked Heart Attack Symptoms originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

Next: 5 Subtle Warning Signs
You can arm yourself by recognizing these overlooked signs of a heart attack:

1. Indigestion

Indigestion – an everyday occurrence for some folks – can indicate a heart attack is approaching, especially in women, according to research by the National Institutes of Health. With this unpredictable symptom, look for it to be combined with jaw, chest or back pain, anxiety or excessive sweating.

2. Pain and discomfort in the stomach, neck or jaw

Stork says if it is not related to any physical injury and the symptoms don’t add up, that’s when caregivers need to be concerned. Look for a case where an individual is starting to have what physicians call “referred pain” from their jaw to their arm and there’s no good explanation. On top of that, they may complain of generalized weakness or lack of energy.

Chew Aspirin to Increase the Chance of Surviving a Heart Attack

3. Headaches

Researchers say migraine headaches can be a warning sign of a heart attack, and women in particular who experience migraine with aura (a migraine accompanied by sensory symptoms, like flashes of light, blind spots or tingling in your hand or face) can have double the risk of heart attacks.

Read More:
A Heart Healthy Diet
Stroke: Warning Signs and Risk Factors
How are Strokes Diagnosed and Treated?

Silent Killers: 5 Overlooked Heart Attack Symptoms originally appeared on AgingCare.com.

4. Fatigue

Stork says that when it comes to fatigue, a heart attack tends to be something different than you’ve experienced before. The words “It just doesn’t feel right” are a warning sign as a physician. That doesn’t mean someone is having a heart attack, but the heart attack symptoms we talk about are when women, in particular, listen to their bodies and typically will say, “I haven’t felt this way before.” It’s more than I’m tired, it’s just a generalized weakness associated often with other subtle symptoms like shortness of breath. “In many cases, when I ask patients further, they will say, ‘Well, I have had a little tinge in my chest but I didn’t think that much of it.’ When you put it all together, you need to be concerned,” Stork says. Feeling stressed out, having a headache and being tired might be things that a person experiences on a daily basis, he explains. “But if you’re feeling fatigue and maybe a little more short of breath than normal, and if something just doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore those symptoms.”

A Heart Healthy Diet

5. Generalized weakness

Stork says that as a caregiver, when you notice that the person you’re caring for has dropped from their baseline, that’s the red flag. They may try to minimize it, if they’re stoic, but if you notice a big change, that’s when it’s worth giving the doctor a call.

Overall, Stork says that as a caregiver, it’s not your job to diagnose a heart attack. “I don’t think the concern should be so much, ‘Is this as heart attack?’ as much as the concern should be, is something potentially wrong here to the point where we need to seek further medical attention?”


Heart Failure in the Elderly
Changes to Make in Your Life After a Heart Attack
Are You Healthier Than a 100-Year-Old?

Silent Killers: 5 Overlooked Heart Attack Symptoms originally appeared on AgingCare.com.


Susan E G Scott
Susan E G Scott4 years ago

Believe heart attack or at least issues killed my late mother. Charlotte S getting GrnStar for what she typed just above where I now do.

Lea Faulks
Lea Faulks4 years ago

Migraine headaches can be a symptom of a heart attack! Yikes! I have them at least once a week. My doctor has never said a word of this to me. He probably doesn't know either; if he does, well then, I'd better change doctors.
Thank you for this information.

Sharon F.
Sharon F4 years ago

It is good that there is a lot of info out there about heart attacks. Many people I know take a baby aspirin a day. Baby aspirin are more expensive than regular; ask your dr about breaking a regular aspirin in half (to save $).

Julie S.
Julie S5 years ago

I recognised this in the deregulated UK and GPs didn't ? Or were they directed not to ? No wonder many in uk are dying before there time. - the statistics are the worst in Europe . Why you're only allowed one sympton one condition from accountant structured call centres.Then the private system use the same Doctors to prevent you claiming for a second opinion & legal system refuses to address too . This behaviour doesn't make ethical or reasonable sense .Then in Uk when tell the truth they moderate me off?Here is my colllaborative with Bhf letter to MP

Mr Jeremy Corbyn MP
Islington North
House of Commons
London SW1A0AA
Dear Mr Corbyn,
There are over 2.7 million people in the UK currently suffering with heart disease and it is the UK’s
single biggest killer. It kills one in six men and one in nine women and is responsible for almost
80,000 deaths in the UK each year, an average of 220 people each day.
February is National Heart Month and a time when the British Heart Foundation (BHF) encourages
the nation to think about their own hearts and the hearts of those around them. by addressing
issues of the incorrect Online Medical Record shortened by those on remits & Low Priority
Policies by ignoring certain disabilities & conditions including heart, liver , kidneys & cancer so LA
s can ration social services.
Already our death rate is highest in Europe & yet again the patient is blamed . This is not quite the
true picture as call cent

Julia R.
Julia R5 years ago

This is a great article to make many more people aware of early signs of a heart attack that many may otherwise overlook but may be early warnings that we need to take seriously! It is better to be safe than sorry. It is better to take a person to the ER and have them checked out than just to hope that these symptoms will just go away because of the serious consequences and sometimes we may not get a second chance!

Danuta Watola
Danuta W6 years ago

Thanks for sharing.

Antony M.
Antony Mcgowan6 years ago


Mari 's
Mari 's6 years ago

Interesting!! tyvm :)

Shirley E.
Shirley E6 years ago

I wouldn't normally have thought of fatigue being associated with heart attack so this has been an eye-opener for me this morning.

Charli S.
Charlotte S6 years ago

Every American should have low cost health care....the problem is that it's a multibillion dollar industry in which everyone except the doctors and the patients make money. Most doctors I talk to hate the way medicine is practiced today. Some thi8ngs that would make it better:
All insurance companies are made limited profit or not for profit companies
Everyone is covered
A single payer system
Pharmaceutical companies are not allowed to make money off research paid for by taxpayers.
Limited profits on medications

I'm lucky to have government run medical care. I'm a veteran and the VA I go to is a gold standard medical center and every American should have this kind of care. And we don't have it because the politicians, pharmaceutical companies, and insurance companies make sure we fight among ourselves about NON-issues such as Socialism and Communism. Our Fire departments and Police departments are a form of socialism yet no one wants to get rid of them. Quit allowing both the far left and the far right to destroy the little guy. If EVERY citizen would put aside non--issues we could have a wonderful country in which every citizen has the most amount of freedom without infringing on the rights of others. As long as they separate us with these BS issues they will continue to rule us.Wouldn't it be nice if everyone could live their lives in the manner in which they want (as long as it doesn't harm another person and they are consenting adults)?