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Heart Attack? Stroke? Cardiac Arrest?


Know the Symptoms to Act Quickly 


If you notice one or more of these symptoms, don't wait. Stroke is a medical emergency. Call 9-1-1 or your emergency medical services. Get to the hospital right away! 

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body 
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding 
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes 
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination 
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause

(Source:  American Heart Association)

Heart Attack

If you think you're having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 or your emergency medical system immediately. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

  • Chest discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back  
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach   
  • Shortness of breath occurring with or without chest discomfort    
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness 

Women & Heart Attacks:  Women sometimes experience heart attack differently than men.  Common symptoms for women can include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea/vomiting
  • Pain in back or jaw

 (Source:  American Heart Association)

Cardiac Arrest

Cardiac arrest (when the heart stops beating) strikes immediately and without warning. Here are the signs:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders) 
  • No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds) 

If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1 and get an AED (automated external defibrillator) while you begin CPR immediately. 

If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED before you begin CPR.
Use an AED as soon as it arrives.

(Source:  American Heart Association)