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Cholesterol Support
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Symptoms of a heart attack / angina in men.

I don't mean to appear morbid but one of the problems with being diagnosed with high cholesterol (whether you believe this can cause MI or not) is you are hyper sensitive to any twinges in the chest area (especially as you pass 40 - as in my case). There doesn't seem to be a lot of information out there as to what angina or an actual heart attack feels like in terms of pain level / levels of discomfort / length of pain. Would you say you definitely know or are the symptoms easy to mistake for something else. I'm hoping I'm not the only person who would find the answer to this question very informative and not too intrusive.

8 Replies

My father had a heart attack 3 years ago. He started to get mild chest pains and breathlessness but put it down to just indigestion. This went on for quite a while but unfortunately he didnt go to the doctor (and didnt tell anyone either). On the day he had his attack he was getting severe pains in arm and chest, went very white and felt sick and was literally holding onto the door frame. He went under protest to the doctors who gave him an ecg and said nothing was wrong and to go home!

My mother phoned me to say he was still getting bad pains and looking very ill so I immediately called an ambulance. They took him straight to hospital and found out from blood tests he had had a heart attack. Dont wish to scare people but I think it is far better to be safe than sorry - ambulance crew were great and said they dont mind being called out even if it turns out to be a false alarm.

Dad is fine now after having stents. He still gets the odd chest pain though and dizziness. Doctors say this is ok.

Not sure how much this helps - I have heard heart attack pain is felt as a crushing heavy sensation in the chest and spreads down the arm/jaw area, although it can vary and apparently for women it can feel more like indigestion.

I suppose if in any doubt get straight to your doctor or call 999.


Yes this also concerns me. I suffer a lot with upper back pain and sometimes have discomfort in my chest and down my arms. Always a niggle in my mind that it may be cardiac symptoms especially when it wakes me in the night. Once I phoned the Dr and when I described my symptoms he sent an emergency ambulance for me and I got carted off to hospital. Turned out not to be heart related - a bit embarrassing. Symptoms can be very vague for women so always a bit of a worry which in itself does you no good!



From info i have read. i think your father seemed to have had classic heart attack symptoms and an ambulance was the right decision. anyone experiencing chest pain and or jaw, neck, arm pain, feeling sick, should call 999 immediately, don't waste precious time waiting for a doctor. the ambulance and hospital have the emergency equipment and experience .


Hi there,

My experience of Angina and an MI was that i was walking up a hill on a very cold day, got some pain in the chest, but put it down to the cold and a bit of indegestion (Something i never suffered with). I ignored it as it went away when i got in the offfice and sat down.

Following week same walk, same chest pain, BUT then got numbness in the hand and a slight ache down left arm. Again ignored it!!

Following week, same as above but with a cold sweat.........decided to go see a GP.

He explained it was classic angina. He gave a GTN and some pills, and referred me to a cardiologist.

Appointment was 6 days later. went into the hospital outpatients, had some bloods taken, put on an ECG, BP etc. Saw consultant who stated ECG Normal, but you are experiencing Angina.....And he gave me a large Prescription of various drugs, and stated they would be in touch in a 'Week or 2@.

NEXT day consultant rang me, asked if i was OK, i said yes, he the n said he wanted me to come in for some more tests that day. I said i'd drive over in half an hour or so, and he told me to ring 999 as A & E were waiting for me. when i got to the hospital the consultant came to A & E and told me that my bloods showed i'd had an MI......2 days later 3 stents fitted 2 to go.

I know the above is a bit long, but it shows that ECG's don't necessarily pick up an MI, and that the symptoms can vary.

Hope this helped.



It's really interesting to hear about different experiences.I have read up on heart attack symptoms for women and do wonder whether I would dismiss it as indigestion. It's hard when something so life threatening is only diagnosed sometimes by blood tests.


I really don't think a heart attack, dependent of course on the severity, could be mistaken for anything else.

When I had my heart attack, it came on as a feeling of being unwell, followed quickly by a heavy crushing pain in my chest, my left arm went completely numb and heavy, followed by the most profuse sweating (the paramedic couldn't get the ecg pads to stick) and vomiting.

I have never heard of indigestion giving these symptoms.

I promise you, you WILL know.


Mags you are of course correct, but i put the pain in my chest down to indegestion!!! whst i should have done was see a GP once the numbness in the arm appeared. I think it is all to do with severity of the MI. It sounds like yours was like my mothers, where she fell to the floor but was able to call 999.

now that i know the signs, i would never again mistake it for indegestion!


Thanks everyone for the feedback.

It appears that arm numbness is an important symptom that could be used to help people distinguish between a heart attack and not.


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