Don’t Miss the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack


You aren’t alone if the first thing you think of when you think of the holiday season is stress, stress, and more stress. And all that stress can lead to health problems.

Studies have shown that there is an increase in cardiac events during the holiday season, possibly triggered by activities such as shoveling heavy snow or a packed calendar of events. But during this busy time, it’s important not to ignore your health.

D.P. Suresh, MD, Interventional Cardiologist with St. Elizabeth Physicians, says it is important to know the warning signs of a heart attack. He says, “50% of patients who present with a heart attack experience atypical symptoms.”

Most people think symptoms of a heart attack are severe pain in your chest and arm. But there are other tell-tale symptoms of a heart attack, including:

  • Coughing
  • Dizziness, light-headed feeling
  • Fatigue
  • General weakness
  • Heart palpations
  • Nausea
  • Pain in throat, jaw or down arm
  • Stomach pain
  • Sweating
  • Swollen legs, feet, and ankles
  • Trouble breathing or taking deep breaths

Triggers of a Heart Attack

The same symptoms you may feel when you are having a heart attack can be a warning sign of an impending heart attack.

“In order to prevent a major cardiac event, you should think about your heart if you are experiencing any unusual symptoms,” said Dr. Suresh. “Especially if you have a family history or personal history of heart disease.”

A heart attack occurs when a piece of plaque that lines an artery breaks away and blocks the flow of blood to your heart. A heart attack may be inevitable, but it could also be triggered by an event. For someone at risk for a heart attack, the following are common triggers for a heart event:

  • Anger
  • Lack of sleep
  • Overeating
  • Physical exertion
  • Stress

These common triggers are also common events around the holidays. If you have symptoms like chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, dizziness, or fatigue, listen to what your body is telling you. Talk to your doctor, or call 911 if you think you are having a heart attack.

For more information on comprehensive cardiac services or be connected with a cardiologist at the St. Elizabeth Heart & Vascular Center, please call (859) 301-4373.