It\u2019s holiday time and as the saying goes, \u201dEat, Drink and Be Merry!\u201d However, emergency room physicians and the Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps, Inc. (WVAC) are advocating for people to be vigilant about recognizing signs and symptoms of heart attack and taking action. \u201cI think with people letting their guard down and being a bit less healthy \u2014 eating and drinking a bit more \u2014 there is a need for increased awareness of signs of heart attacks,\u201d says Brian McGovern, an emergency room physician at Norwalk Hospital and a Wilton resident. The signs and symptoms of a heart attack may include some of the following symptoms: Chest discomfort or pain: This discomfort or pain can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the center of your chest lasting more than a few minutes. This discomfort may come and go. Upper body pain: Pain or discomfort may spread beyond your chest to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw. You may have upper body pain with no chest discomfort. Stomach pain: Pain may extend downward into your abdominal area and may feel like heartburn. Shortness of breath: You may pant for breath or try to take in deep breaths. This often occurs before you develop chest discomfort or you may not experience any chest discomfort. Anxiety: You may feel a sense of doom or feel as if you\u2019re having a panic attack for no apparent reason. Lightheadedness: In addition to chest pressure, you may feel dizzy or feel like you might pass out. Sweating: You may suddenly break into a sweat with cold, clammy skin. Nausea and vomiting: You may feel sick to your stomach or vomit. Most heart attacks begin with subtle symptoms such as discomfort rather than pain. The chest discomfort may come and go. Don\u2019t be tempted to downplay your symptoms or brush them off as indigestion or anxiety. Many people avoid calling 911 because they don\u2019t want to \u201ccause a scene\u201d or feel \u201cembarrassed\u201d if it turns out to be nothing serious. \u00a0Heart attack survivors will tell you, \u201cit\u2019s better to be embarrassed than dead.\u201d Don\u2019t \u201ctough out\u201d heart attack symptoms for more than five minutes and don\u2019t try to self-diagnose with the Internet. Every minute lost is heart muscle lost. In some cases, a heart attack may cause cardiac arrest and death. Call 911 or other emergency medical services for help. Heart attack symptoms vary widely. For instance, you may have only minor chest discomfort while someone else has excruciating pain. Some people may have a history of heart disease in their family while others will have none at all. In addition, the American Heart Association specifically points out that heart attack symptoms in women can differ from the more \u201cclassic\u201d symptoms experienced by men. For example, women may experience only one or some of the following: Shortness of breath; Pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen; Dizziness; Lightheadedness; Fainting; Upper back pressure; Extreme fatigue. There is no \u201cstereotypical\u201d individual (e.g.: age, gender, weight, lifestyle) who can have a heart attack, however, one thing applies to everyone: If you suspect you\u2019re having a heart attack, call for emergency medical help immediately. The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps wishes everyone a happy, healthy and safe Holiday Season! Please take care of yourself and your loved ones and remember, we\u2019ll be there if you need us. For more information on heart attack, visit: The American Heart Association\u00a0www.heart.org\u00a0and The Mayo Clinic www.mayoclinic.com. The Wilton Volunteer Ambulance Corps Inc. is a nonprofit 501(c)(3) corporation.