Mums, keep an eye out for these heart attack symptoms so the condition will not take you by surprise.
Heart attacks are no longer exclusive to people of old age and those suffering from a congenital cardiac condition. Over the past few years, more and more young people have suffered from cardiac arrest.
Even fit and healthy individuals are at risk of heart disease.
That’s why it’s important to recognise its signs so that when it does come, you can help save your life and others.
What is a Heart Attack
A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, usually by a clot. The lack of oxygenated blood causes the heart muscle to die, and if it isn’t treated quickly, this can lead to permanent damage or even death.
Common Signs of Heart Attack
If you think you have a heart attack, call the emergency hotline right away.
The signs of a heart attack are different for everyone and can vary from person to person. But if you have any of these heart attack symptoms, get help immediately:
Image Source: iStock
Chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in your chest. The pain can range from mild to severe. Some people have mild chest pain and others have severe pain that feels like “a truck is driving through their chest.”
Pain or discomfort in your arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
You know that pain in your back or jaw is a sign of a heart attack. But did you know that you might also experience discomfort in your arms, neck, stomach, and tongue?
If your arm feels numb and tingling, there could be a blockage in one of the arteries that supply blood to the heart. If you feel pain or discomfort in your back, neck, jaw or stomach—or even your tongue—this may signify a heart attack.
While it can be quite common in other diseases, nausea and vomiting are both signs of heart attack. Moreover, nausea is a sensation you feel in your stomach, while vomiting is throwing up. Both of these heart attack symptoms can occur suddenly and be very painful, so if you experience them, it’s important to seek medical attention immediately.
Sweating (profuse sweating)
If you’re sweating profusely and experiencing other heart attack symptoms, we recommend you call the emergency hotline or go to the emergency room immediately.
Shortness of breath with exertion or even at rest
Shortness of breath with exertion or even at rest is a sign that you may be having a heart attack. This symptom can also signify other problems, like asthma or pneumonia, so it’s important to see your doctor to rule out those possibilities.
Dizziness or lightheadedness
It could signify a heart attack if you’re experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness. Symptoms of a heart attack can be subtle and not easily identified as such, so it’s important to be aware of what your body is telling you.
According to Mohamud Daya, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, people suffering from a heart attack don’t always experience symptoms like those you see in films.
“Some say they feel uneasy or vague discomfort, not the pain that hurts. Sometimes it feels more like heaviness or pressure.”
Women’s Heart Attack Symptoms
We’ve all heard that heart attacks are more common in men than women—but what does that mean exactly?
Well, it means that the most common symptom of a heart attack is also the same for both sexes: chest pain or discomfort. But here’s where it gets interesting: It doesn’t have to be severe pain. Women often experience the same heart attack symptoms as men, but they may also experience some unique symptoms.
Many women do not experience severe chest pain—they may experience more subtle symptoms like mild discomfort or pressure in their chest.
- Chest pain or discomfort. This may be felt in the centre of the chest, but it may also occur in other areas. The pain or discomfort can radiate to the neck, jaw, back, upper abdomen, or one or both shoulders.
- Discomfort in other upper body areas, such as the arms and back. This discomfort may feel like indigestion or a pinched nerve.
- Shortness of breath and/or difficulty breathing (dyspnea). This often occurs with chest pain or discomfort. It may feel like a tight band around your chest that makes it hard to breathe deeply or cough out mucus from your lungs (stridor).
- Nausea and/or vomiting: nausea is more common than vomiting with heart attack symptoms in women; however, vomiting can occur with severe heart attack symptoms. Vomiting often happens when you have too much stomach acid or food in your stomach at once—such as when you gobble large meals or drink too much alcohol before going to bed—which can irritate your stomach lining and make you vomit
“Although men and women may experience chest pain described as an elephant sitting on top of their chest, women can experience a heart attack without feeling pain or pressure in the chest”. said Dr Nieca Golberg, medical director of Women’s Health Center.
Is It Possible to See the Signs of Heart Attack Early
Yes, it is! You can start looking for these signs even before your first symptoms appear.
Heart attacks can be sudden and life-threatening, but they don’t have to be. Early detection of the symptoms of a heart attack can help save lives by giving patients more time to get medical attention and potentially avoid serious complications like damage to the heart muscle or damage to blood vessels in your chest.
You must know what symptoms to look out for if you think you might be having a heart attack and head to the emergency room without delay.
What Is the Fastest Way to Check for Heart Attack Symptoms
If you think you have a heart attack, it’s important to know what to look for.
Heart attack symptoms can be difficult to identify because they can vary widely from person to person. While some people experience pain and tightness in their chests, others might experience other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness.
While no single test can definitively diagnose a heart attack, there are several ways you can check if your symptoms are serious. If you are experiencing any of the following signs and symptoms, or if someone you love seems to be in distress and has these same symptoms, seek medical attention immediately:
- Chest discomfort or pressure that lasts for more than 10 minutes
- Next, chest discomfort or pressure that gets worse with activity
- And, chest discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes when coughing or laughing
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms or someone else is experiencing them after exertion (such as a sudden increase in physical activity), seek medical attention immediately.
How Does Heart Attack Feel Like
A heart attack feels like pressure or tightness in the chest, which can spread to your shoulders, neck, and arms. It can also feel extreme pain or discomfort in one or both arms. You might have nausea or lightheadedness as well.
Image Source: iStock
What to Do When Someone Has a Heart Attack
If you have a friend or loved one who is experiencing a heart attack, it’s important to know what to do.
First, you should call the emergency hotline immediately. Explain that the person is having a heart attack and needs help immediately. The dispatcher will give you instructions on how to help keep your friend or loved one safe until medical professionals arrive.
Next, follow these steps:
- Check the person’s airway and breathing. Make sure the person can breathe, and check to see if something is blocking their airway (such as vomit).
- If the person is awake and able to speak, ask them about their symptoms: where it hurts (it could be their chest or back), what made it start (exertion or pain), what makes it better (resting), and when it started (did it happen suddenly?).
- If they can’t answer questions like this because of confusion/disorientation from the heart attack, it’s important to keep them calm so that they don’t become more stressed out than necessary.
- Keep them still and quiet. Speak slowly and calmly with them about simple things like “how are you feeling now?” or “what would you like for dinner tonight?”
How Long Do Heart Attacks Last
A heart attack can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours, depending on the severity of your condition. If you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or arm pain that lasts more than 20 minutes and is not relieved by rest, seek medical attention immediately.
It depends on the specific type of heart attack and other factors like your age and general health.
What’s the Difference Between Heart Attack & Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Heart attack and sudden cardiac arrest are two terms often used interchangeably, but they are very different.
A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart is interrupted, usually due to a clot or other blockage. With this condition, there is usually chest pain or discomfort, and it can also cause shortness of breath and nausea.
Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes it to beat irregularly and quickly. This condition causes you to lose consciousness and collapse, with no warning signs beforehand.
Every second matters
Time is of the essence for those suffering from a heart attack; mere minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
“If you get to the hospital in a few minutes rather than a few hours, you are more likely to have a better outcome with fewer complications, and you are less likely to die,” says Holli A. DeVon, PhD, RN.
This is why recognising the signs of a heart attack is crucial. If you suspect that you or someone is having an attack, immediately contact emergency services.
“That’s because emergency responders offer more than just a ride,” WebMD says.
“They can give you oxygen, heart medications, and pain relievers; monitor your heart rhythm and vital signs, and transmit potentially life-saving information to the hospital to jump-start tests and treatment.”
To prevent the signs of heart attack from happening to you, make sure you consult with your doctor and cardiologist regularly. If you are experiencing the heart attack symptoms mentioned above, seek medical attention without delay.
Image Source: iStock
Republished with permission from theAsianparent Philippines
Updates from Pheona Ilagan
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