People Who Have Experienced A Heart Attack Describe What It Actually Felt Like

Life After...

People Who Have Experienced A Heart Attack Describe What It Actually Felt Like
Image by Barbara Jackson from Pixabay

Having a heart attack is one of my worst fears. Well, honestly, death is my worst fear and a heart attack is on the list of "least favorite ways to expire." I've witnessed people fall prey to matters of heart health and it is not fun. Nowadays we are all blessed as a society to have so much knowledge on this issue so the chances of survival have grown exponentially.

And the people who come out the other end do seem to grasp a new lease on life. I'd rather grow from reading Brené Brown, but knowing all we can about heart attacks can only be better in the long run.

Redditor u/Mr_Cakes11 was hoping to hear from everyone out there who has been lucky enough to go on with life after a few scary health concerns by asking... People that have experienced a Heart Attack, what does it feel like?

Lesson number 1... no person of any age is exempt. For example...

No Age Minimum

Teddy Bear Cartoon GIFGiphy

24 hours prior i had a sharp pain in my back, near the shoulder blade. Along with severely blurred vision, heavier breathing. Walking was much slower, and short walks of 10-20 ft felt like i ran a marathon uphill for an hour. Along chronic vomiting & fatigue. All at the age of 15.

Currently, I'm fine. At the time I had no idea what was going on, as symptoms of heavy/labored breathing worsened over 5 months prior. Several trips to the doc & 6 misdiagnoses later, I'm in the ER with 2 heart attacks back to back within 10 minutes. Further 'proper' testing show it was viral myocardiopathy (heart failure due to a virus). 6 months later i end up with a heart transplant & a lifetime requirement of 2 anti-rejection meds.


Holding it Together...

My son was 16 & described it as butterflies in his heart. Until his aorta ripped & he then just screamed & held his heart, kidneys & then his ribs.

I watched all of this while driving him to hospital, it was horrific & even now gives me chills.

Thankfully Drs saved his life & he lives a relatively normal life now.

Edit - type A aortic dissection.


Get Tested...

A friend of mine had a heart attack at (I think) 14. In her case it was Marfan Syndrome. She survived, but had to get an implanted defibrillator.

If you're tall and gangly, can wrap your finger and thumb around your wrist with overlap, and lay your fingers back against your arm - it's something to get screened for.


We're told over and over and over again to stay on top of our health. And that we should get tested for everything regularly -though who has the insurance to cover that- and learn how to read the signs and for extra credit learn how to decipher an EKG, apparently they explain it all.

Pay Attention

It wasn't that bad so I wasn't sure it was a heart attack. A few months later I went to my GP, and an EKG showed it was a heart attack.


This is what I'm afraid of. Like, people say to watch out for heart pain/tightness, but that's a relatively common occurrence for me. And this is America, I can't go to the ER every time it happens because it might be a heart attack but probably isn't.

So inevitably one day it will be and I just won't know until I'm dying.


keep reading...

When I was a teenager I thought I was having a heart attack. Turned out it was

Then in my 30's I thought I destroyed my liver for accidentally drinking and taking Tylenol.

turned out it was again

anyway you doctor should be able to rule out major heart issues with some simple tests; a good long listen and an EKG. If you're really worried about it they can do it while you're on a treadmill or do an MRI.

Like if you've considered going to the ER even once for this, you're nuts not to get it checked out at NOT the ER.


No Clutching...

So, I didn't have your full blown, clutch my chest and collapse heart attack.

I went into work at a restaurant. It was Veteran's Day, so I knew it was going to be busy. Second table in, my left arm started to hurt. Great, just what I need, a bum serving arm on a busy holiday. I kept going to my new tables, but the pain kept increasing. Between tables, I would sneak into the beer cooler to use a bottle of wine to ice down my arm, but it felt like I had torn my bicep. I kept on though, trying to not let my tables see me in pain.

Finally, once lunch rush was over, I told my boss I was going to the hospital as the arm pain had been a recurring issue over the past couple months. Took an Uber to the ER, still in a good amount of pain but not as awful as when I was running around. Figured I would just get a cortisone shot and call it a day. Nope.

They took my blood pressure. 202/149. Immediate EKG. Blood work. Turns out I had a baby heart attack, was admitted in. Had a bigger heart attack that night while sleeping and if I wasn't in the hospital might be dead. 5 days later had quadruple bypass surgery.

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I never had the chest pain or shortness of breath. Just extreme arm pain that I figured was from a pinched nerve. It's not just numbness, it's any kind of major pain in the arm. Thankfully, everything has gone well post surgery and I'm almost fully recovered. I'll be back to work in 3 weeks!

Edit: 36 year old bio male.


Some of the humans who walk this Earth are truly "Avengers." Several of these stories are told by people who make having and surviving a heart attack seem like just another ordinary, everyday occurrence. I've been known to faint at the slice of a paper cut, so I can't imagine choppering myself to the nearest hospital while keeping my heart pumping. Like... who are you people?

Why do you ask? 

I felt like I had intense heartburn, after it didn't go away and I started having shortness of breath, I woke up in the middle of the night, drove myself to the emergency room so they could tell me to relax, they ended up giving me some stints instead.

Why do you ask? If you feel like it might be one, go to the hospital, better safe than sorry!


Grandma is Super Human

My grandma is a very energetic woman in her 80s. She was busy working in her garden, carrying gravel and dirt around, watering and so on. She then felt tired and kinda not well and decided to take a nap. Napping helped and she continued her usual life. Fast forward 1 week later she's on her regular check up and cardiologist says "holy crap you had a heart attack several days ago" and she was like "well I felt kind of dizzy but that's because I was working too hard that day."


aches and pains...

I was mowing the lawn, then took a break. I eventually noticed my chest really hurt, across from armpit to armpit a perfect half bath towel rectangle of pain. It felt like every front facing rib was in a vice front and back. Two days and three stents later I was home.

When my dad had his heart issues his chest didn't hurt, rather it felt like "a toothache in his shoulders."


It gets worse...

howie mandel omg GIF by America's Got TalentGiphy

Well my dad was stabbed in the heart before, and he said the heart attack felt about a 100 times worse.


Well all of that information is frightening. It's imperative to know, but still, a bit on the stressful side to read. Which now makes me nervous, because stress isn't good for the heart. And I'm not a spring chicken anymore, so I need to watch out. Oh Lord. Matters of heart just always seem to carry the most dire circumstances. Keep up on your health people. We only have one life and one body.


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