ZocdocAnswersAre dizziness and lightheadedness symptoms of a heart attack?

Question

Are dizziness and lightheadedness symptoms of a heart attack?

I'm a bit paranoid and sometimes after working out I experience dizziness and lightheadedness that can last awhile. I don't know if this increases my risk of heart problems in the future. Is this normal?

Answer

Heart attacks are associated with a variety of symptoms and it is important to be knowledgeable about them because it may just save your life. That is why it is important to discuss this with your doctor. When most people think about symptoms associated with a heart attack, they think of chest pain. It is true that chest pain is the most common symptom of a heart attack, but some people suffer a heart attack without ever feeling chest pain. Most commonly, cardiac chest pain is felt as discomfort or pressure below the breastbone that does not go away, or goes away briefly but quickly returns. Cardiac chest pain sometimes radiates to the left side of the chest, one or both arms, the neck, the back, or the stomach. Occasionally, cardiac pain is felt only in the stomach and the diagnosis of a heart attack is delayed because people think that they are suffering from heartburn. Another common symptom of a heart attack is shortness of breath. Other less common symptoms include nausea, lightheadedness, or feeling cold and clammy. If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 immediately. If you experience lightheadedness for a period of time after working out, it would be unlikely to be due to a heart problem unless there were other symptoms of heart disease. Only an examination by a doctor can determine whether your symptoms may be due to heart trouble, so you should make an appointment with an internist or a cardiologist as soon as possible. Another reason you should be examined by a physician is because certain vascular disorders, such as something called subclavian steal syndrome, can cause lightheadedness or fainting during exercise, particularly arm exercise. Only a doctor can diagnose this condition after evaluating you and performing diagnostic testing. While the lightheadedness you feel after working out may be a natural phenomenon related to adrenalin and exertion, especially if you are otherwise young and healthy, it is possible that it could be caused by cardiovascular disease or another medical problem, so you should make an appointment with a physician soon.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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