Heart Attack Symptoms in Men

By Dr. Sushant C Patil in Heart Institute

Apr 24 , 2023 | 4 min read


Did you know that men are more prone to heart attacks as compared to women? Moreover, the symptoms men experience are often different from women.
Knowing and understanding these symptoms can be vital for prompt diagnosis and treatment. Below are some of the major heart attack symptoms in men that one must be aware of:

Common heart attack symptoms in men

It is important to note that not all individuals may experience all the symptoms described, and some may experience symptoms that are not listed. It is recommended to consult with a heart doctor for personalized advice on heart attack prevention and management.

Chest Pain

Mild pain in the chest or discomfort is the most common sign of a heart attack. Usually, these symptoms are subtle and occur gradually. Although rare, sometimes, heart attacks can happen suddenly with severe pain. These have been nicknamed “Hollywood heart attacks” because of how they have been portrayed in TV shows and films.

Chest Pressure or Discomfort

Heart attacks can also cause symptoms like chest pressure, fullness or squeezing that can be mistaken for heartburn. Usually, there is discomfort in the centre or left side of the chest, which may persist for a longer time or it may be intermittent.

Pain in the Jaw, Shoulder, Neck and Back

Apart from chest pain, a heart attack can cause discomfort or pain in other parts of the body. Usually, people link a heart attack with pain radiating down the left arm. However, the pain, tightness and discomfort can occur in other areas including arms, shoulders, jaw, neck/throat, stomach, back and even the teeth.

Pain in the Arm

One of the most common symptoms of a heart attack is pain in the left arm. The nerves from the heart and the one from the arm trigger the same brain cells and so the brain cannot identify the source of pain. This is known as referral pain, which explains why a person having a heart attack may feel pain in one or both arms without chest pain.

Irregular or Rapid Heartbeat

An arrhythmia is an irregular heartbeat, where the heart may beat slower or faster than normal. Irregular or rapid heartbeat can be one of the several other symptoms of a heart attack. People may experience a heavy pounding of the heart. Over 90% of the people who have had a heart attack experience irregular heartbeat.

Stomach Discomfort

The common symptom of a heart attack is a tight, constricting pain that is usually felt in the middle of the chest and can also radiate to the upper abdomen. Despite the source of pain being the heart, it may be felt in only the stomach. Stomach discomfort, nausea and vomiting are more commonly experienced by women as symptoms of a heart attack compared to men.

Shortness of Breath

Shortness of breath (dyspnoea), trying to take in deep breaths or gasping for breath along with or without chest pain can be a sign of a silent heart attack. This may be accompanied by light-headedness, dizziness or fainting. Although it can affect both sexes during a heart attack, women are more likely to experience shortness of breath.

Dizziness or Light-headedness

Apart from chest pressure and discomfort, heart attacks can cause dizziness, light-headedness or fainting. This is likely due to poor blood flow resulting from blockage, preventing the heart from pumping blood to the brain and other parts of the body. Insufficient oxygen supply to the brain can lead to dizziness or light-headedness.

Cold Sweat

If a person experiences cold sweat, where they start sweating without any reason, this can be a sign of a heart attack. Cold sweat along with other heart attack symptoms in men can significantly raise the risk that the person is having a heart attack or about to have one.

Nausea or Vomiting

Although less common, nausea, vomiting and stomach discomfort can be signs of a heart attack and occur particularly in women. These symptoms may resemble indigestion and may be accompanied by burping or belching. Nausea may worsen to the point of vomiting.

Sudden Fatigue

Feeling tired suddenly and inexplicably is a typical symptom of a heart attack. The person may also experience anxiety, a sense of impending doom or even a panic attack, all of which can occur without any obvious reason.

Snoring a Lot

Snoring is linked with obstructive sleep apnoea (OSA), a sleep disorder, which can increase the risk of cardiovascular diseases, heart attack and other health problems. In isolation, snoring may not be a symptom of a heart attack but only a warning of heart disease.

Coughing Too Much

A prolonged and long-lasting cough, producing pink or white phlegm is known as a cardiac cough and can be an indication of heart failure. This occurs when the heart is unable to keep up with the demands of the body and the blood leaks back into the lungs.

Throat or Jaw Pain

By itself, pain in the throat or jaw is not probably linked to heart problems. However, if there is pressure or pain in the centre of the chest that radiates up to the jaw or throat, this could be a sign of a heart attack.

Swelling in the Legs

Swelling in the legs, ankles and feet can be a sign that the heart is not pumping blood efficiently. When the heart does not pump blood quickly, the blood flows back into the veins, causing swelling and bloating. Heart failure also impairs kidney function, making it difficult to flush excess sodium and water, further causing swelling.


Recognising the symptoms and signs of a heart attack in men is crucial for early detection and prompt medical intervention. 
Seeking immediate medical help for symptoms like chest pain, shortness of breath, fatigue or cold sweat or any other symptoms discussed in the article is critical. Awareness and timely action can make a significant difference in saving lives.