Skip to Content
Home > Patients & Visitors > DAISY Award Nomination > Chest Pain: Angina or a Heart Attack?
View Additional Content In This Section
Symptoms of a heart attack include:
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you think you are having a heart attack.
Nitroglycerin. If you typically use nitroglycerin to relieve angina, call 911 if one dose of nitroglycerin has not relieved your symptoms
within 5 minutes. Do not wait to call for help.
Unstable angina symptoms are similar to a heart attack.
Call 911 or other emergency services immediately if you think you are having a heart attack or unstable angina.
People who have unstable angina often describe
their symptoms as:
The symptoms of stable angina are different from those of
unstable angina. Stable angina occurs at predictable times with a specific
amount of exertion or activity and may continue without much change for years.
It is relieved by rest or nitrates (nitroglycerin) and usually lasts less than
For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Women are more likely than men to delay seeking help for a possible heart attack. Women delay for many reasons, like not being sure it is a heart attack or not wanting to bother others. But it is better to be safe than sorry. If you have symptoms of a possible heart attack, call for help.
When you get to the hospital, do not be afraid to speak up for what you need. To get the tests and care you need, be sure your doctors know that you think you might be having a heart attack.
People who are having a heart attack
often describe their chest pain in various ways. The pain:
It is possible to have a "silent heart attack" without any symptoms, but
this is rare.
ByHealthwise StaffPrimary Medical ReviewerRakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, ElectrophysiologySpecialist Medical ReviewerStephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
Current as ofNovember 14, 2014
Current as of:
November 14, 2014
Rakesh K. Pai, MD, FACC - Cardiology, Electrophysiology & Stephen Fort, MD, MRCP, FRCPC - Interventional Cardiology
To learn more about Healthwise, visit Healthwise.org.
© 1995-2015 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.