A damaged heart is more likely to experience further damage through another heart attack – one that could be more destructive, and even deadly. The best thing to do is get medical advice as soon as a heart attack occurs. According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), one common sensation that may indicate a heart attack is pain. Pain radiating from the chest, stomach, leg, arm, jaw or back could be a warning sign.
Professor David Newby said: “If you have chest pain and you feel extremely unwell, you should dial 999 and get an ambulance as soon as possible.”
The sensation has been likened to “heaviness, tightness, or pressure in the chest”.
As for stomach pain, it can be a very similar experience to indigestion, but if you’re not sure, Professor Newby recommends calling NHS 111.
A “gripping, cramping sensation in your calves when you are walking” could be indicative of peripheral arterial disease, or diabetes – both conditions that can increase the risk of a heart attack.
If you experience such a sensation, Professor Newby said: “It might be worth seeing your doctor.”
When it comes to arm pain, it’s alarming if the pain is travelling down the arm, or into the neck, which could be a sign of a heart attack.
“If it doesn’t go away, or if you know you have heart disease and have used your GTN (glyceryl trinitrate) spray two or three times to no discernible effect, you should be seeking emergency medical advice,” said Professor Newby.
The professor continued: “With heart attacks, it can even happen that the pain is felt in the jaw, or the back. If the pain doesn’t go away, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.”
Another possible sensation that could predict a heart attack is the feeling of nausea.
Nausea alongside chest pain, when you’re not exerting yourself, is a clear signal that you need to call for an ambulance.
One other possible indication of a heart attack is feeling hot and clammy alongside chest pain.
Some people might experience a “choking sensation”, which could occur if you suffer from angina.
However, if you haven’t been diagnosed with a heart problem and you’re experiencing a choking sensation, it’s time to call NHS 111.
Professor Newby added that “extreme fatigue” could also be a telling sign of heart failure.
“It’s a difficult one,” Professor Newby said, “because it’s so non-specific”.
Any feelings of fatigue that can’t be attributed to working late hours or staying up late need to be investigated by a doctor.
The last sensation pointed out by Professor Newby is an irregular heartbeat.
Feeling your heart skip a beat on a regular occurrence could signal a problem.
“If your heart is going very fast and jumping around erratically then that’s when you should see your GP,” said Professor Newby.
“If you feel like this and then you experience blackouts, call an ambulance.”