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Heart and Vascular Care

Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke

Important Information About the Signs of a Heart Attack and Stroke During COVID-19

The warning signs of a heart attack are very similar to some of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19. That is why it is VERY important that you don’t ignore those signs and symptoms, as well as those for stroke, as in both cases, getting care quickly is critical.

Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

You should also call 911 immediately if you experience the signs of a stroke. Follow the BEFAST method:

  • Balance - Watch for a sudden loss of balance.
  • Eyes - Is there a sudden loss of vision in one or both eyes? Or double vision?
  • Face - Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
  • Arms - Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
  • Speech - Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Does the speech sound slurred or strange?
  • Time - If you observe any of these signs, it's time to call 911.

Hospitals have safety measures in place to protect you from infection. Also remember:

  • CALL YOUR DOCTOR if you have a heart condition and have questions or think you need a health visit.
  • DON’T DELAY routine care. You may be able to get advice over the telephone or use telehealth for a virtual visit.