When we think of a heart attack, we often think of someone clenching their chest and falling in severe pain. Although this can happen, there can also be more subtle signs that are very serious. An easy to way to run down the list of symptoms to diagnose a heart attack is to PASS IT ON.


P –  Pale: Is the person’s skin pale?

A –  Anxiety: Does the person appear anxious?

S – Sweating: Are they sweating and “clammy”?

S – Short of breath: Are they short of breath or having difficulty breathing?


I – Indigestion: Quite often, there is no real pain but a feeling of indigestion.

T – Tightness: Is there a tight feeling in the chest?


O – Overall weakness: In more severe cases, an overall weakness occurs.

N – Nausea and vomiting: This is always a concern but when part of other symptoms, can be contributed to a heart attack.

Chest pain can be described as heavy and can radiate into one or both arms.  It can cause stomach pain.  Pain can pass into the neck or jaw area and into the back between shoulder blades (mainly in women).

For people that are in their 70s and have a history of diabetes, a silent heart attack can occur.  This is where there is no complaint of pain or discomfort, yet the individual becomes very pale and experiences shortness of breath.

With these systems, immediate treatment is key.  Call 911 immediately and insist the person sits and rests while waiting for paramedics to arrive.


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