Heart attack - or indigestion?

The most common sign of a heart attack - for both men and women - is chest pain. But knowing whether the pain is a true warning sign of heart attack or a bout of indigestion may not always be obvious.

Understand the symptoms.

Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back is the hallmark of a heart attack. This discomfort can feel like squeezing, pressure, fullness or pain. Yet people describe a wide range of symptoms, many of which they didn't recognize as having anything to do with their hearts.

Know your body.

If the pain you think is just heartburn and seems worse or different than normal, you should get emergency help. This is especially important if the pain happens during exercise or you're having other symptoms such as shortness of breath, sweating, dizziness, nausea or pain that moves into your shoulder and arm.

Trust yourself.

"We all know our bodies," says Evan McCabe, who is a cardiac nurse. "We know when something isn't right. Go with your gut. In the emergency room, we'd always rather you come in if you feel something's not right than be at home and not make it."

The bottom line: trust yourself. When it comes to your heart health, it's always better to be safe than sorry.

"So my battles continue, but at least I am still alive."
Lori M., I am ProHeart Community Member