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Listen to your heart! Those movie scenes where the hero clutches his chest while having a heart attack don't always tell the whole story.

While some heart attacks are sudden and extremely intense, the danger signs of a heart attack also can be subtle or mild. It is important to know what the danger signs are and to act on them IMMEDIATELY.

Recognizing the symptoms in time can possibly prevent the heart attack from happening or minimize heart damage from a full-blown heart attack. Data shows that 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours of a heart attack.

Everyone in the community can pledge to help friends, family and anyone around them who may be experiencing early heart attack symptoms and help them get emergency treatment right away.

JPS Health Network is committed to the†Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) public awareness campaign. Its message is that heart attacks have "beginnings" that can happen days or weeks beforehand. Unfortunately, people often ignore early symptoms and that puts them at risk for damage to their heart muscle or death.

Be aware of these symptoms:

Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea (sick to your stomach) or lightheadedness.

Take steps to protect your heart health.†Read more information from the JPS Health Network Cardiology Center.

Know your risk: JPS Health Network and the Department of Cardiology encourage you to take the American Heart Associationís Heart Attack Risk Assessment tool.

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