Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack and Unstable Angina

The following symptoms, in combination, can indicate that you are having a heart attack:1,2


  1. Feeling weak, dizzy or lightheaded
  2. Coughing or wheezing
  3. An overwhelming feeling of anxiety (similar to having a panic attack)
  4. Shortness of breath
  5. Pain in the chest
  6. Sweating
  7. Feeling or being sick
  8. Pain in other parts of the body, e.g. left arm, jaw, neck, back and abdomen


The following may indicate that you have unstable angina pectoris:3


  1. Unexpected chest pain, often whilst resting or with minimal exertion
  2. Pain that is not relieved by rest or medicine
  3. Symptoms that seem to be getting worse over time
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack and Unstable Angina

Signs and symptoms of heart attack and unstable angina1-3

What risk factors increase the risk of heart attack and unstable angina?

Some conditions or characteristics may make you more likely to have ACS. These are known as risk factors.


The risk of developing heart attack and unstable angina is highest if you4,5


  • Have diabetes
  • Smoke
  • Are overweight or obese
  • Have high blood cholesterol
  • Have a family history of atherosclerosis or heart disease
  • Have high blood pressure
Next: How is it diagnosed