Crushing pain and heart attacks

You know the dramatic scene on TV when someone is having a heart attack: the actor clutches his chest, gasps and drops to the floor in agony. And for some, a heart attack is sudden and very painful. But studies show that as many as one-third of people not only don’t have debilitating chest pain when having a heart attack – they have no chest pain at all. (That is more commonly the case with women, particularly older women.)

In fact, some people have so few symptoms that they are surprised to learn later that they’ve had a heart attack. Less-obvious symptoms include pain in the upper body, including the arms and neck, and shortness of breath. Chest pain can be mild, and may feel like pressure or fullness in the center or left side of your chest.

Strange-but-true: Did you know that heart attacks are most likely to happen in the morning? Research has shown that the chance of sudden cardiac death peak between 6-10 a.m. Scientists think the timing is tied to protein in the body that help regulate electrical activity in the heart.

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