Recognize the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack

The first step to treatment of a heart attack (also known as myocardial infarction) is knowing the signs that you may be having one. If you are experiencing any of the heart attack symptoms listed below, you should seek immediate medical care at a hospital or emergency room. 

Texoma Medical Center can diagnose a heart attack with blood tests and treat it before it further impacts your heart health. We also offer cardiac rehabilitation for heart failure and other life threatening heart conditions. Our number one priority is keeping your heart healthy.

The following are possible warning signs in men and women:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath (difficulty with physical activity)
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Mild chest discomfort (pressure, burning, aching, tightness) that comes and goes

Get a Physician Referral

If you need a referral to a cardiac specialist or other physician at Texoma Medical Center, call our free physician referral service at 903-416-3627

Warning Signs in Women

Many women never have chest pains before a heart attack, although most men do. In addition, women often experience physical symptoms for as along as a month before a heart attack. The most common symptoms that women experience before a heart attack, include:

  • Unusual fatigue
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Shortness of breath
  • Indigestion

During an actual heart attack, common symptoms in women include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Weakness
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Cold sweat
  • Dizziness

Patient Story: Janis Fletcher

When Janis had a heart attack, the emergency staff at TMC immediately got her the care she needed. Janis spent six days in the intensive care unit before receiving open-heart surgery, and then another 18 days recovering in the stepdown unit.

Read Janis' Story

If You Believe You’re Having a Heart Attack

Do the following if you suspect you are having a heart attack:

  • Call 911. Tell the operator "I think I'm having a heart attack."
  • Chew one adult strength aspirin or four baby aspirin. Keep supplies in areas where you spend time, as well as in your pocket or purse.
  • If at home, unlock your front door to enable paramedics to get to you quickly.
  • If possible, have a wallet card ready with your medical history and current medications.

Call 911 - Don't Drive Yourself to a Hospital

Time lost is heart muscle lost. You will delay your treatment if you drive yourself to the hospital. The paramedics can begin treatment as quickly as possible once they reach you. They will also notify the hospital that you are coming. The hospital can then alert the interventional cardiologists and other heart attack team members so they are ready if you need a procedure such as balloon angioplasty or stenting.

Emergency Information Packet

If possible, have the following information packet ready for medical emergencies, such as a suspected heart attack:

  • Driver's license photocopy or photo ID
  • Health insurance cards (or photocopies) and an insurance contact phone number
  • Copy of your living will or advance directive
  • List of all medications, vitamins and supplements you are currently taking; include dosages and frequency
  • Short descriptions of all current medical conditions or chronic illnesses
  • A list of allergies and chemical intolerances
  • Phone numbers (with area codes) of your family doctor, local pharmacy and specialists
  • Phone numbers (with area codes) of relatives or family friends who may be contacted.

If you believe you are having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately.

Learn how Texoma's Heart Institute treats heart attacks and other heart conditions →