Symptoms of heart attack include:

  • chest pain is generally located in the centre of the chest with sensations of pressure, tightness or squeezing
  • pain can feel as if it is travelling from the chest to arms, more often than not the left arm is affected, although it can affect both arms as well as the jaw, neck, back and abdomen
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • an overwhelming sense of anxiety – could be described as a panic attack.
  • feeling light headed
  • coughing
  • wheezing

Pain levels can vary significantly depending on the individual. Often described as so severe it feels like ‘an elephant sitting on my chest’. On the other end of the scale, others may describe pain as being fairly minor, similar to indigestion pains.

Some women, older people and diabetics may not experience any chest pain at all.

Don’t judge the level of pain as an indication as to the severity of the heart attack.

If the patient is not allergic to aspirin and they possess it, encourage them to slowly chew and then swallow an adult size tablet (300 mg).