Heart Attack Symptoms Men

Each year, more than 250,000 people die from heart attacks before they even reach the hospital. Knowing the symptoms of heart attack can greatly increase the chances that you will seek help and survive if you ever suffer from a heart attack.

Heart Attack Defined

A heart attack, known in the medical community as myocardial infarction, occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t receive sufficient blood. Usually, the decrease of blood occurs when a blood clot interferes with the flow of blood through a coronary artery. When blood flow is blocked, the heart muscle becomes damaged.

If decreased blood flow to the heart lasts for more than a few minutes, cells in the heart muscle suffer from permanent injury or even die. In cases of severe heart attacks, death can result.

Heart Attack Risk Factors in Men

Certain risk factors can increase your chance of having a heart attack. Luckily, many of the risk factors for heart attack can be controlled. Heart attack risk factors include:

  • Diabetes: Diabetes can contribute to high blood cholesterol and the narrowing and hardening of the arteries, thus increasing your risk of heart attack.
  • High Blood Cholesterol: Cholesterol can build up in your arteries, causing blockage. Having high levels of Low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the “bad” cholesterol, can contribute to heart attack.
  • High Blood Pressure: People who have high blood pressure are at a higher risk of suffering a heart attack.
  • Inactive Lifestyle: People who aren’t physically active are more likely to be obese and have high blood cholesterol, both of which increase your risk of heart attack.
  • Obesity: Obesity is linked with high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol, all of which put you at risk for heart attack.
  • Stress: People under stress can suffer from an increase in blood pressure.

In addition, you are more likely to suffer from a heart attack if your family has a history of heart issues.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Men

Often, men and women will experience different heart attack symptoms. While women often won’t feel chest pain prior to the attack, men tend to exhibit what doctors call the classic heart attack symptoms.

If you experience any of the following, call 911 immediately, as you could be having a heart attack:

  • Chest Pain: Many people having heart attacks report chest pain in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes. Sometimes the pain will go away and then return. The chest pain can feel like pressure, or it can feel as if something is squeezing your chest.
  • Discomfort in the Upper Body: During a heart attack, some people report feeling pain in one or both arms (generally the left arm), the back, the jaw, neck and/or stomach.
  • Shortness of Breath: People having heart attacks often feel as if they can’t catch their breath. Shortness of breath can occur with or without chest pain.

Other signs of heart attack include:

  • anxiety
  • cold sweat
  • dizziness
  • fatigue
  • nausea
  • vomiting.

It is important to note that most heart attacks are not intense and do not happen suddenly. Rather, the majority of heart attacks begin with mild discomfort that slowly increases in intensity. Due to this fact, many people wait too long before seeking medical assistance.

Resources

American Heart Association, Inc. (2007). Heart Attack. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from the American Heart Association Web site: http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4578.

Mayo Clinic Staff (November 20, 2006). Heart attack. Retrieved October 30, 2007, from the Mayo Clinic Web site: http://mayoclinic.com/health/heart-attack/DS00094/DSECTION=1.