Did You Know?

  • Like other diseases, heart attacks have early signs & symptoms
  • If recognized, people can be treated before heart damage occurs

Learn Early Heart Attack Care

  • Review the signs and symptoms
  • Take the EHAC Pledge and promise to spring into action

Prevent a Heart Attack

  • Learn the risk factors
  • Understand the difference between men and women
  • Is it a heart attack? Learn the atypical symptoms

Save a Life

  • If someone collapses, call 9-1-1
  • Perform Hands-Only CPR
  • Find and deploy an AED (Automated External Defibrillator)

What is Early Heart Attack Care?

Early Heart Attack Care (or EHAC) education teaches you to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Why? We want you to become an active bystander so you can save a life – even if it’s yours.

  • About 75,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 116,000 die.
  • Many of these patients experience early symptoms.


Someone might have one or more of these common symptoms. When they start, they can be mild or come and go. Over time, the symptoms and pain become more intense. Stay alert and always pay attention to chest pressure.

  • Chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning
  • Shortness of breath
  • Back pain
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Anxiety
  • Excessive fatigue or weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Jaw pain
  • Feeling of fullness
  • Pain travelling down one or both arms

Did You Know?

Most heart damage can occur within the first two hours of a heart attack. EHAC encourages you to know the subtle signs of a heart attack and act on them – BEFORE HEART DAMAGE OCCURS!

What are the RISK FACTORS?

These are the general risk factors. Discuss your risk with your doctor.

  • Chest pain, pressure, burning, aching or tightness – it may come and go
  • A family history of cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Using tobacco products
  • Metabolic disease, diabetes or illnesses
  • For women it can also include birth control pills, a history of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or having a low birth weight baby

What is the difference? MEN vs WOMEN

Some heart attack symptoms can be different between men and women. Why does it matter? Women may be less likely to seek immediate medical care which can cause more damage to the heart.

  • Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side.
  • Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous.
  • Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into their jaw.
  • Women may think their stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer.

What are Atypical Presentations?

In an atypical presentation, the signs and symptoms are different. How? The patient may not complain about pain or pressure in the chest. Be alert for the following:

  • A sharp or “knife-like” pain that occurs with coughing or breathing.
  • Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body.
  • Difficult or labored breathing.
AHA 2020 Mission Lifeline Silver Award