Signs and Symptoms

Every 40-43 Seconds an Adult has a Heart Attack or Stroke

Share this fact with family, friends and co-workers. Now ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Do you have diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol or an irregular heartbeat?
  2. Are you a smoker or have a family history of heart attack or stroke?
  3. Have you ever had a cardiac event?

If you answered YES to any of these questions, contact the St.Vincent Heart Center and ask our Heart Care associate why this matters for long-term heart health.

Call: 317-338-CARE (2273)

Our dedicated heart and vascular doctors, heart care nurse educators, registered dietitians, and therapists are passionate about treating all types of cardiovascular disease, and especially trained for advanced and complex problems. We're here to help prevent these diseases and when they do happen, we act quickly to get you the care you need.

Heart Attack Signs

Men and women often experience different symptoms of a heart attack.

Male Icon

Men generally experience chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, and/or nausea

Female Icon

Women generally experience the same symptoms as men plus these symptoms: back, neck or jaw pain; a burning cessation in the chest similar to heartburn; dizziness or lightheadedness; sweaty; and/or vomiting

Associated Risk Factors: Heart Attack versus Stroke

Contributing Factors Heart Attack Risk Stroke Risk
Age Men age 45+
Women age 55+
55 and older
Family History Yes Yes, including heart diseases (heart failure, heart defects, heart infection or abnormal heart rhythm)
Gender 50/50 Men and Women Men more so than women
Race All All, but Black men have a higher risk
High Blood Pressure Yes Yes - most common cause of mini-strokes (TIAs)
High Blood Cholesterol Yes Yes
Diabetes (Type 1 & 2) Yes Yes
Other diseases Chronic Kidney Disease
Autoimmune diseases (such as Rheumatoid Arthritis and Lupus)
Preclampsia
Obstructive Sleep Apnea
Stress, Emotional Distress Yes ---
Smoker Yes Yes
Heavy Drinker --- Yes
Overweight/Obese Yes Yes
High-fat diet Yes - Red meats Yes
Physical Inactivity Yes Yes
Using Illicit drugs-amphetamines and cocaine use Yes Yes

Most heart attacks happen when blood and oxygen are blocked from getting to the heart, specifically from blood clots or atherosclerosis (plaque build-up) in the coronary arteries.

A stroke occurs when blood flow to the brain is interrupted by a blockage or a blood vessel ruptures in the brain. Then brain cells immediately begin to die affecting motor movement, language, balance, etc.


To better understand the medical terminology and many types of cardiovascular conditions, click here for our patient-friendly Health Information Library.