A sudden heart attack may not be quite so sudden after all; in fact, more than half the people who suffer an attack have had one of four warning signs up to a month beforehand. The most common symptom is chest pains, and shortness of breath, dizziness, fainting or palpitations are other warning signs. And it's quite common to experience one or more of these symptoms up to a month before the actual attack, say researchers from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles. They made the discovery when they explored the experiences of 567 men who had survived a heart attack. Of these, 53 per cent had suffered one of the warning symptoms up to a month beforehand, although sometimes the first signs were just an hour before the attack itself. In either case, the researchers say, get immediate help: just 9 per cent who suffer a heart attack outside of hospital survive to tell the tale. (Source: Proceedings of the American Heart Association scientific sessions, November 19, 2013).