Symptoms of heart attack

Heart attack is a dreaded event for anyone. Ever thought how you can know that you are having a heart attack. The fact is an early recognition of attack results in early treatment. This in turn leads to less suffering and risk of death.

What are the symptoms?

Heart attack can present in different ways. One of the classical presentations is the “movie type” sudden severe chest pain or someone collapsing, then there is of course no doubt. But in most of the cases the the symptoms are less typical.

What are the premonitory symptoms?

In some cases before the actual heart attack, there are premonitory symptoms like extreme fatigue, generalized feeling of being unwell, low mood etc. But they are very nonspecific symptoms and sometimes are difficult to correlate with a heart attack.

At what hours heart attacks happen?

It can happen anytime. But books say that the morning hours 6 am to 12 pm are particularly dangerous for having a heart attack.

Symptoms of a heart attack:

The commonest symptoms are :

  1. Chest pain
  2. Pain in other parts of upper body
  3. Shortness of breath
  4. Cold sweating
  5. Pain abdomen, nausea, vomiting
  6. Alteres sensorium
  7. Atypical symptoms


Pain in chest and other areas:

The commonest symptom of heart attack is pain in the centre of the chest which lasts for more than a few minutes and is not relieved with rest. The pain might initially get received only to recur again. Pain is usually in the middle of the chest with radiation to left arm. The pain can be predominantly felt in other parts of upper body like – neck, jaws, back etc. In patients with diabetes and in females the pain may be less and more atypical.

Chest pain is usually associated with shortness of breath, or a sense of suffocation. In more severe cases there can be accumulation if fluid in lungs when there will be severe shortness of breath with inability to lie down straight.

Some patients have pain abdomen, nausea or vomiting as predominant symptoms. But even these symptoms are associates with some degree of shortness of breath

Cold sweating can occur in heart attack.

Other atypical symptoms like extreme fatigue , dizziness , altered sensorium are more serious manifestations and signify high risk.

What to do?

Are are two things prevention and treatment.

For prevention risk factor reduction, regular intake of medicines for diabetes , high BP , elevated cholesterol. Every attempt including treatment should be done to stop smoking.

For treatment always consult a doctor for symptoms of chest pain, shortness of breath. Consult early and don’t delay thinking that it will go away, as a timely treatment can be live saving.

Concluding message: know the symptoms of a heart attack and act early.

Thank you

Dr Anupam Jena


What is palpitations? 

Why it’s important?

Palpitation is the abnormal awareness of one’s own heartbeat. Normally you are not aware of your heart beat, the heart just goes on beating in the background sustains our lives. When you become aware of your heart beats its palpitation. Of course you can always feel the heart beats by putting a palm on the chest. Palpitation can be normal or abnormal, like everyone experiences palpitation after running, during anxiety or emotional excitement etc. the demarcation between normal and abnormal is sometimes diminished in cardiac symptoms – like palpitation can be a normal finding but undue palpitation is abnormal. What is means that it’s ok to have palpitation after running but if you are having palpitation while doing your routine activities then it is abnormal.

Palpitation can be a symptom of a wide variety of conditions starting from acute anxiety to serious heart diseases. Many non-cardiac diseases can also produce palpitation like anemia, hyperthyroidism etc.

Among heart diseases palpitations is caused by two types of conditions:

  1. Disturbances of heart rhythm
  2. Diseases affecting the cardiac structures like – valves, heart muscles etc.

Palpitation due to rhythm abnormalities occur intermittently, are sudden in onset and may terminate on it’s own or need treatment. Palpitation due to heart disease can also present during exertion, and in more advanced conditions may be present at rest.

Sometimes palpitation can be associated with a feeling of light-headedness and blackening of vision and may lead to frank fainting attacks. Many cardiac diseses like aortic valve diseases , pulmonary hypertension can lead to palpitation and syncope. When the heart is dilated like in some patients with heart failure it can lead to palpitation.

Most commonly many of us sometimes feel like missing a beat or palpitation which are usually caused by premature atrial or ventricular contractions.

The message is – “don’t ignore a palpitation.” Always consult your doctor . it  may turn out to be a minor problem or no problem at all  , but it is better than unknowingly denying a serious problem

Thank you

Dr. Anupam Jena

Chest Pain


not too far

 Its alarming to have a chest pain. It bothers us too often, that we sometimes tend to ignore it. So today I decided to tell a few things in brief about chest pain that everybody should know. This post is intended for general health information and not for self-treatment.

As we already know there are many structures inside the chest like- ribs,muscles ,lungs, food pipes, heart etc. So pain in chest can arise from any of these structures, but each structure usually has some typical characteristics of pain which helps to determine the presumed site of origin. For example when chest pain is due to muscles/bones then there may be some local pain on touching or pressing; in case of lung the pain will be associated with breathing difficulty, cough and expectoration. Similarly when pain arises from the food pipes there will be associated symptoms like – difficulty in swallowing, nausea, vomiting. But the most alarming and serious chest pain is the one arising from heart.

The heart is basically made up of muscles and like any other muscle in the body it needs blood supply. Blood supply to the heart is done by coronary arteries.   There are two occasions when cardiac pain can occur, either it is due to reduced blood supply to the heart due to blockage in the coronary arteries, or due to excessive demand of the heart like thickening of heart muscles. Chest pain arising from the heart is called ANGINA. Angina has a typical character – it is felt as a heaviness, squeezing sensation, tightness or heaviness in the centre of the chest which is often also felt in left arm, jaw,neck, shoulder or back. It is precipitated by physical exertion , emotional excitability and is relieved by rest. Sometimes pain can be more severe and longer lasting when it indicates something more sinister like an heart attack.

If someone feels a chest pain which is bothering him/her then medical attention should be sought. Like I said in the beginning – this article is for general health information and any chest pain needs evaluation by a doctor and prompt and proper treatment.

Thank you