Kevin Smith’s Heart Attack Horror Story Reveals How Important It Is to Know the Symptoms

Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death in the United States. Anyone young or old, male or female, can experience heart problems. Possibly one of the scariest and best-known issues, heart attacks, aren’t always deadly — but they can be, and often are.

Actor, director, and comedian Kevin Smith shared with his Twitter followers that he’d canceled one of his shows because of a “massive” heart attack. His story points to the importance of recognizing all heart attack symptoms — and taking action immediately, even if you’re unsure.

Kevin Smith had a ‘100% blockage’ in his artery

Kevin Smith in the hospital | Kevin Smith via Twitter

This blockage occurred in the artery that supplies blood to the left side of the heart. Some call this kind of heart attack a widowmaker. Many healthy people are still genetically predisposed to suffering from this — lifestyle is not the only risk factor, making it much more dangerous.

Next: It wasn’t because he was unhealthy.

He has lost over 80 pounds since 2010

Smith (with actor Jason Mewes) is a lot slimmer than he once was.| Craig Barritt/Getty Images for New York Magazine

In 2010, Kevin Smith said he was kicked off a Southwest Airlines flight because he was too “fat” to fit into a seat. After calling them out publicly following the incident, he decided to use the experience to motivate him to start losing weight. In 2015, he reported that he had lost a total of 85 pounds.

Next: He had no idea what was happening until he got to the hospital.

When he sensed something was wrong, he cancelled his show …

emergency room sign

He knew there was something wrong right away. | Bryan Steffy/Getty Images

Smith said he couldn’t catch his breath, and thought it might be because of drinking spoiled milk. He still canceled his show and took an ambulance to a nearby hospital anyway — and it’s a good thing he did. Doctors were likely only able to save his life because he didn’t wait to get checked out.

Next: Here’s why he didn’t realize he was having a heart attack.

… but he actually wasn’t in pain at all

He didn’t experience any chest pain. | Mike Windle/Getty Images

Smith said he had trouble catching his breath, but wasn’t experiencing any chest pain. Shortness of breath is a common heart attack symptom, but neither this nor chest pain are the only signs you could be experiencing a medical emergency.

Next: Heart attack pain can show up anywhere, if at all.

Instead of chest pain, some people hurt in other places

Some people having heart attacks experience back pain. | iStock

The chest and arms aren’t the only places a person can feel pain when suffering a heart attack. Sometimes, you might feel it in your back or jaw. Others experience severe stomach pain, and don’t notice any chest discomfort at all.

Next: Some people experience extreme psychological distress along with physical symptoms.

You might feel like you’re having a panic attack

close-up of a man clutching his chest to show a heart attack

Panic attacks and heart attacks can feel similar. | iStock.com

Many people having panic attacks rush themselves to the emergency room thinking they’re having a heart attack — but they’re not wrong for being cautious. An overwhelming sense of doom or dread can accompany many other symptoms like chest discomfort and heart palpitations.

Next: Everyone needs to be aware of these symptoms — especially women.

Women need to be aware of how different their symptoms can be

Woman having heart attack symptom

Symptoms can be different for women. | iStock.com/Tharakorn

Heart attack symptoms differ between men and women — and knowing these differences could save your life. Many women don’t experience any of the “classic” symptoms, but instead feel like they have indigestion or extreme fatigue.

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