signs of a heart attack

If you think you are having a heart attack, dial 9-1-1 immediately and ask to go to St. Francis. We treat heart attacks 3x faster than the national standard of 90 minutes.

Signs of a Heart Attack

Dr. Christopher Smith, Upstate Cardiology

The combination of symptoms differs from person to person, but can include:

• discomfort or pressure in the chest
• pain in the jaw, left arm or back
• shortness of breath
• sweatiness

What happens during a heart attack?

Everyone has some fatty buildup called plaque in their arteries. During a heart attack, this fatty build up blocks the artery, which causes the wall of the artery to break open. This causes a blood clot to form, which stops the blood flow through the heart, causing a heart attack.


Is there any way to minimize the amount of damage to the heart during a heart attack?

In a heart attack in which an artery is abruptly and completely blocked, time is of the essence. The faster the artery can be opened, the less damage to the heart will occur. At St. Francis, our goal is to have the patient in the Cath Lab in 60 minutes or less from the time he or she enters the ER in order to protect as much heart muscle as possible. Besides care in the hospital, you should know the signs of a heart attack and always come to the hospital if you suspect youre having a heart attack. Even if you end up not having a heart problem, it is always better to come and get checked out.

Female Heart Attack Symptoms

Dr. Barbara Moran-Faile, Upstate Cardiology

As opposed to men, many women never experience chest pain. Instead, a woman may feel:

• discomfort in her jaw, back or neck rather than chest
• shortness or breath
• nausea or vomiting

Since the symptoms are more vague, women tend to delay seeking treatment.

Are womens hearts really that different from mens hearts?

They certainly can be. For years, almost all heart research was performed on men, assuming that 'a heart is a heart.' Only in the last decade has specific research on womens hearts begun in earnest. We do know that women are more likely to die from a heart attack or stroke than men are. Part of the reason is that women tend to put off seeing the doctor because they ignore their symptoms or attribute them to something else, like indigestion. Another reason is that the symptoms of a womans heart attack can be very different than the symptoms a man experiences.

What is particularly surprising about women and heart disease?

One thing that is surprising is that the risk of dying of heart disease is actually increasing in women age 35-44. Those who are especially at risk are those who smoke, have diabetes, high blood pressure, are obese, have a sedentary lifestyle, and/or a family history of heart disease. Young women who are on birth control are at an increased risk of heart disease. Young women who are on birth control and smoke are at an even higher risk of heart attack, stroke and blood clots in the lungs and legs.

Trey's Story

At 32 years old, Trey woke up thinking he had just slept on his arm wrong. When he told his wife about his symptoms, she thought he was having a heart attack and rushed him to St. Francis. She made the right choice. We have the first Cath Lab in the U.S. accredited for Cardiovascular Excellence. Because we treat heart attacks 3x faster than national average, Trey did not suffer any heart damage. Learn more about his remarkable story by clicking the image below:


Find a Cardiologist

Upstate Cardiology is a member of the Bon Secours Medical Group, with 18 board-certified cardiologists, including two who specialize in electrophysiology.

2 Innovation Drive, Suite 400 | Greenville, SC  29607 | 864-235-7665
114-A Hospital Drive
| Simpsonville, SC  29681 | 864-235-7665
702 North A Street | Easley, SC  29642 | 864-859-9855

Dr. Jon M. Bittrick
Dr. John E. Cebe
Dr. Lawrence W. Freeman
Dr. Ned D. Freeman
Dr. Mark Grabarczyk
Dr. Steven D. Johnson
Dr. Craig J. McCotter
Dr. Barbara A. Moran-Faile
Dr. Matthew G. Nessmith
Dr. Michael W. Payne
Dr. Charles D. Ross
Dr. Gregory W. San
Dr. A. Thomas Siachos

Dr. Brad M. Simpson
Dr. Christopher H. Smith
Dr. Edward A. Stewart
Dr. Richard N. Vest, III
Dr. Morris E. Williams, Jr.

St. Francis Heart Care

1 St. Francis Drive
3rd Floor
Greenville, SC 29601



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