What a heart attack or stroke can feel like

By American Heart Association News

Various symptoms of heart attack or stroke

Heart attack and stroke are life-threatening emergencies and anyone experiencing symptoms should immediately call 911. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. Other symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath or breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness. Warning signs of stroke can include face drooping, an arm or leg that is weak or numb and inability to speak clearly. Other signs can include a sudden severe headache with no known cause and sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.

Here, heart attack and stroke survivors describe how they felt when they experienced their symptoms:

Truck on the chest.

Breathing through a straw.

Knife on the back of the skull.

Rainbow-like kaleidoscope vision.

Mammogram on the chest.

Lights went off in the eyes.

Head exploding.

Grinding gears in chest.

Sick with the flu.

Elephant on chest.

Heartburn from hell.

Arms feeling like bowling balls.

Illustrated by Bipassana Shrestha


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