6 Symptoms You Should Never Ignore

What it feels like:
A heavy ache that comes on suddenly and then goes away just as quickly. Otherwise, you feel fine.

What it could be: Maybe indigestion. Or it could be a heart attack. "Even if it's very short in duration, it can be a sign of something serious," says John Stamatos, M.D., medical director of North Shore Pain Services in Long Island and author of Painbuster.

Here's how serious: A blood clot may have lodged in a narrowed section of a coronary artery, completely cutting off the flow of blood to one section of your heart.

How much wait-and-see time do you have? Really, none. Fifty percent of deaths from heart attacks occur within 3 to 4 hours of the first symptoms. You're literally living on borrowed time.

How to fix it: A blood test checks for markers of damaged heart tissue. Treatment: angioplasty or bypass. Then try any or all of our 100 Ways to Protect Your Heart.

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