8 serious signs of serious trouble

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A serious symptom: Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest is a sign of a heart attack. The discomfort could last more than a few minutes, or go away and return. | FILE PHOTO

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 935,000 Americans have a heart attack every year. Of these, 610,000 are a first heart attack. Furthermore, the CDC reports that someone in the U.S. has a stroke every 40 seconds.

Here are eight symptoms you should not ignore as they may be a sign of a heart attack or stroke.

Heart attack signs

1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.

2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Stroke signs

6. Face drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

7. Arm weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

8. Speech difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

The American Heart Association