Heart Disease

healthy adults

A heart attack is one of the most dangerous and frightening conditions related to heart disease. Call 9-1-1 immediately if you notice these symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or someone else: 

How to recognize a heart attack

  • Chest pain: Most heart attacks feel like discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes. Sometimes this feeling goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure “like an elephant sitting on your chest,” or like squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, or in your back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: This can occur with or without chest discomfort, like the feeling of having run a marathon but you didn’t exert yourself.
  • Other signs: May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting or lightheadedness.
  • Different symptoms for women:  Women may experience different heart attack symptoms than men. These differences for women may include:
    • Feeling completely exhausted, drained or dizzy
    • Feeling of pain or numbness in the right arm, or on the right side of the body; men typically experience these symptoms on the left side
    • Nausea or vomiting
    • Shortness of breath
    • Stomach pain may feel like the flu, heartburn or an ulcer
    • Upper-back pain that travels to the jaw

Of the people who die from heart attacks, about half will die within an hour of first noticing the symptoms. At Frye Heart Center, our 24/7 interventional cardiology team can quickly determine whether you’re having a heart attack and provide the appropriate treatment. 


Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States and the second-leading cause of death in North Carolina (after cancer). When it comes to identifying the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association identifies six major factors: 

  • High cholesterol
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight
  • Physical inactivity

Heart attacks occur when something blocks blood flow to the heart. The most common reason for this is atherosclerosis, a condition in which one or more arteries become narrowed by a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances that turns into plaque over time. Mild atherosclerosis may not have immediate symptoms, but this narrowing can also restrict blood flow to other organs. 

Additionally, the plaque lining can rupture, causing the fat and cholesterol to enter the bloodstream. This can form a blood clot that can restrict blood flow to the heart or another organ. 

Treatment options

A heart attack is a life-or-death emergency situation. Call 9-1-1 immediately to be taken to the nearest emergency room. 

Contact Us

For more information about the Frye Heart Center, please call .828.315.3278

Find A Doctor Online or call 800.339.8758

Find Us

Frye Heart Center 
420 N Center St
Hickory, NC 28601

Phone: 828. 315.3278

Fax: 828.315.5966

Hours of Operation: 24 Hours