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Andrew Carter photo

Andrew Carter


The warning signs of a heart attack can present themselves differently depending upon the individual.

Here are the most common symptoms:

• Chest discomfort in the center of the chest lasts more than a few minutes, or it goes away and comes back. It can feel light uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

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

• Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest discomfort.

• Other signs may include breaking out into cold sweating, nausea or light-headedness.

What are the warning signs of a stroke?

A stroke is an emergency situation. Symptoms may occur suddenly, may vary and can include:

• Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body

• Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding

• Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

• Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

• Severe headache with no known cause

What should I do?

Even if someone is not sure it’s a heart attack or stroke, immediately call 9-1-1 or local emergency medical services, such as the fire department or ambulance. EMS staff members can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

Andrew Carter, a cardiologist at Sanford Clinic in Bismarck, specializes in cardiology and interventional cardiology. He completed medical school at Chicago College of Osteopathic Medicine and completed his residency in internal medicine at Fitzsimons Army Medical Center in Aurora, Colo. He is fellowship-trained in cardiovascular disease from Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington, D.C., and interventional cardiology at The Johns Hopkins University Hospital in Baltimore. He is board-certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine.