Kwiziq community member

12 July 2017

2 replies


"ATTENTION: The expression "avoir mal au cœur" does NOT mean you're having a heartache or a heart attack, but that you're feeling sick, like you want to throw up." how do you say "my heart hurts" then?

This relates to:
Avoir mal (à) = To be in pain, to hurt somewhere -


Kwiziq language super star

13 July 2017


Hi Daniel,

I assume you mean physical pain in the heart here? The cardiac muscle isn't capable of sensing pain in the same way as e..g your skin as most of its nerves do other functions. if someone has a heart condition then this usually* manifests itself as chest pain ("douleur thoracique") or angina ("angine de poitrine").

A person might say "J'ai mal à la poitrine", therefore.

*It's a bit more complicated. For the medically-minded: in the case of ischaemia, depending upon the location and extent of the ischaemia, the vagal afferent nerves can evoke hypotension, bradyarrythmias , nausea and vomiting while the ischaemia-sensitive sympathetic (spinal) afferents can evoke hypertension, tachyarrhythmias and the pain of angina pectoris. Hopefully you won't need to know how to say any of that in French . ;)


Kwiziq community member

6 May 2018


Thanks for the answer!

But it still leaves unanswered how you say that you are having a heart attack!

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