Heart attack symptoms: The sign condition shares with coronavirus – what to look out for

A heart attack is a medical emergency, but it shares a symptom with COVID-19. What is it? And how can you tell the difference?

During this global pandemic, leaning on the NHS can be worrisome if you’re not sure if what you’ve got is a medical emergency.

Let’s be clear: a heart attack is a medical emergency that can result in death.

This is why it’s vital to be aware of the subtle symptoms of a heart attack.


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The British Heart Foundation (BHF) states shortness of breath is one symptom of a heart attack.

But, shortness of breath can also be a symptom of an infection with COVID-19.

How can you tell the difference? Irregardless of which condition you may have, shortness of breath isn’t to be ignored.

During a heart attack, the BHF states people may experience “chest pain or discomfort that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away”.

This sensation can be described as “pressure, squeezing or heaviness in the chest”.

For some people, the sensation may spread to your arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.

Sometimes, a feeling of nausea may be accompanied with light-headedness, sweating, and shortness of breath.

When suffering from COVID-19, on the other hand, shortness of breath may be accompanied with a fever – classified as a reading of 38 degrees or above.

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Additionally, COVID-19 may present a new, continuous cough.

If you’re showing symptoms of COVID-19 – fever and a continuous, new cough – there’s no need to call NHS 111 unless you feel the symptoms are unmanageable.

This includes the condition becoming worse and symptoms that don’t disappear after seven days.

However, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies shortness of breath as a good enough reason to get in touch with healthcare professionals while suffering from COVID-19.


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If you believe you have COVID-19, and are short of breath, do use the NHS 111 online service for further guidance on what to do.

For those who think they may be suffering from a heart attack, do call 999 immediately.

While waiting for an ambulance, the BHF suggests for you to sit down, take aspirin if it’s within reach and to remain calm.

The leading cause of heart attacks is coronary heart disease.

Coronary heart disease happens when your heart’s blood supply is blocked by a build-up of fatty substances in the arteries.

Having a chronic heart disease, such as coronary heart disease – if known –dramatically increases your risk of a heart attack.

Moreover, having heart disease places you at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.

People suffering from heart disease are best advised to implement social distancing at this time.

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