Heart attack: A surprisingly ‘common’ symptom of a heart attack not to be dismissed

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Once seated, it may help to sip on a glass of water, said the charity Heart Healthy. Lightheadedness could be a sign of low blood pressure or blood sugar. However, if palpitations start to creep in, you need to call NHS 111. There are other scenarios when you must contact NHS 111 following a period of lightheadedness. This includes lightheadedness that doesn’t pass within a few minutes, or if you start to get chest pain.

Chest pain is one of the alarm signals of a heart attack, which can last a few minutes or longer.

“Typically, the pain feels like a heavy weight on the chest or like squeezing in the chest,” the charity explained.

However, there can be more “subtle chest discomfort or a burning sensation” that is present in the middle of the chest.


Chest pain can also travel to the upper body, such as the arms, back, and jaw.

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“Be aware that nausea and vomiting can be warning symptoms for a heart attack,” the charity emphasised.

Other warning signs of a heart attack include:

  • Fainting
  • Shortness of breath

Why do heart attacks happen?

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to the organ is restricted; when it’s starved of oxygen and nutrients, the heart tissue begins to die.

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The NHS confirmed that coronary heart disease “is the leading cause of heart attacks”.

Coronary heart disease is an example of cardiovascular disease, which is where a build-up of fatty deposits line the arteries.

This narrows the passageway that blood can flow through to reach vital organs.

Eventually, there might be enough fatty deposits to block the passageway (i.e. artery) completely, restricting blood flow to the heart, for example.

There’s certain factors that increase the likelihood of developing cardiovascular disease. This includes:

  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Family history of cardiovascular disease
  • An unhealthy diet
  • Excessive alcohol consumption

“If you already have cardiovascular disease, staying as healthy as possible can reduce the chances of it getting worse,” said the NHS.

This includes not smoking, having a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining a healthy weight.

It’s also important to cut down on alcohol and to take any medication prescribed to you to treat underlying health conditions.

Ignoring these health recommendations only put you at risk of losing your life.

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