Heart attack

Choose the right healthcare service to get the care you need and to enable the NHS to help the greatest number of people.


GREEN Self-care or ask a pharmacist for advice

Reduce the risk of a heart attack with lifestyle choices

If recovering from a heart attack, gradually restore your physical fitness

Quit smoking

Lose weight, if overweight or obese

Build up to regular exercise; at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity a week for adults, unless advised otherwise

Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day

Moderate alcohol consumption

AMBER It is urgent but not life threatening

Recovering from a heart attack can take several months.

You’ll receive detailed advice, help and support from healthcare professionals, based on your age and ability.

If unsure about anything:

Call 111 or visit 111.nhs.uk


Contact a GP Practice

RED It is a life-threatening medical emergency

If experiencing:

Severe chest pain, pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across chest – when active or at rest

Pain spreading from the chest to the arms (usually left arm, but can affect both), jaw, neck, back and abdomen (tummy area)

Accompanied by other symptoms including (but not limited to):

Lightheaded or dizzy

Coughing or wheezing

Shortness of breath

Sweating and feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)

An overwhelming feeling of anxiety or doom (similar to a panic attack)

A clenched fist held over the chest Levine’s clutch sign

Women more likely to have shortness of breath, feeling or being sick, back or jaw pain.

Call 999, or go straight to Emergency Department, Queen Alexandra Hospital, Cosham. Do not self-drive.

If not allergic to aspirin:

While waiting for an ambulance or treatment, it may help to chew and swallow 300mg of aspirin.