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How Do You Know If You Are Having A Heart Attack

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Womens Signs Of Heart Attack

How do you know if you’re having a heart attack?

The most common heart attack sign is chest pain or discomfort however, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. They may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue.

What To Do If You Have Heart Attack Symptoms

Because certain symptoms, such as nausea or fatigue, can signal any number of health concerns, its important to be aware of other possible heart attack symptoms.

If you suddenly become nauseated and are having trouble catching your breath or you have serious jaw pain, call 911. Tell the 911 dispatcher you may be having a heart attack.

You may be reluctant to call 911 if youre not sure whether you or a loved one is having a heart attack, but its better to err on the side of caution.

A heart attack is often a life threatening emergency. The faster you get medical attention, the better chance you have of a good recovery.

When to call 911

Any time you have pain or pressure in your chest that lasts more than a few minutes and is different to pain youve felt before, its important to get medical attention as soon as possible. This is especially important if you have other symptoms, too, such as:

  • shortness of breath

nearly a quarter of all heart attacks in the United States, according to the American Heart Association.

A silent heart attack may resolve on its own if, for example, the clot blocking blood flow dissolves or becomes dislodged and is absorbed into the body. But a silent heart attack can still cause damage.

If a doctor discovers that you had a silent heart attack, you may want to consider cardiac rehabilitation and the type of care that any other person whos had a heart attack receives.

Can Coughing Help You Survive A Heart Attack

This is generally not helpful, according to the American Heart Association. In a hospital setting, a nurse or other healthcare provider may instruct someone to cough forcefully and repetitively during the initial seconds of a sudden heart rhythm problem. This is to try to maintain blood flow to the brain for a few seconds. Outside of a hospital, coughing really isn’t useful and “cough CPR” is a myth.

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What Should I Do If I Think Im Having A Heart Attack

The first thing you must do is dial 999 immediately for an ambulance. Dont worry if youre not completely sure whether your symptoms are a heart attack, its really important that you seek medical attention regardless as quickly as possible.

Next, you should:

  • take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within arms reach
  • stay calm and wait for the paramedics.

People often dismiss that theyre having a heart attack and will delay seeking medical attention. If youre with someone whos experiencing heart attack symptoms but theyre putting off or refusing to call an ambulance, its really important that you call one for them.

What’s The Difference Between Indigestion And A Heart Attack

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Indigestion, or heartburn, is a feeling that usually comes on after eating. It causes a burning and uncomfortable sensation in your chest and abdomen, and often a sour taste in your mouth.If you havent experienced heartburn or indigestion before and you’re experiencing persistent burning chest pain or chest pain combined with other heart attack symptoms, phone 999 immediately.If youre prone to heartburn or indigestion and youre experiencing the same symptoms as usual, take the steps you usually would to ease your discomfort, such as taking some medicine and/or drinking water.If the burning feeling in your chests persists, or it begins to spread to your arms, neck or jaw, phone 999 immediately as you may be having a heart attack.

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Heart Attack Symptoms In Women

If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, womens most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.
  • The Anxiety Attack Experience

    Panic attacks are often misunderstood because of the word “panic.” In truth, they’re filled with primarily physical symptoms. These symptoms include:

    • Rapid heartbeat.
    • Trouble getting a deep breath.
    • Weakness or tingling in the extremities.

    There are mental symptoms as well, but many relate to the physical symptoms. Panic attacks often cause an intense feeling of doom, usually around these health problems – the same feeling of doom you would likely experience if you were suffering from a heart attack.

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    Angina And Heart Attacks

    Angina is a syndrome caused by the supply of oxygen-rich blood to the heart becoming restricted.

    People with angina can experience similar symptoms to a heart attack, but they usually happen during exercise and pass within a few minutes.

    However, occasionally, people with angina can have a heart attack. It’s important to recognise the difference between the symptoms of angina and those of a heart attack. The best way to do this is to remember that the symptoms of angina can be controlled with medicine, but symptoms of a heart attack cannot.

    If you have angina, you may have been prescribed medicine that improves your symptoms within 5 minutes. If the first dose does not work, a second dose can be taken after 5 minutes, and a third dose after a further 5 minutes.

    If the pain persists, despite taking 3 doses of glyceryl trinitrate over 15 minutes, call 999 and ask for an ambulance.

    Page last reviewed: 28 November 2019 Next review due: 28 November 2022

    Waiting For An Ambulance

    How to Know if You’re Having a Heart Attack

    If you have had a heart attack, it’s important that you rest while you wait for an ambulance, to avoid unnecessary strain on your heart.

    If aspirin is available and you are not allergic to it, slowly chew and then swallow an adult-size tablet while you wait for the ambulance.

    Aspirin helps to thin your blood and improve blood flow to your heart.

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    How To Get Checked Out

    Men may not be aware they had an SMI until weeks or even months later when they see their doctor for a regular visit, or because of persistent symptoms like fatigue, shortness of breath, or heartburn.

    SMI is usually detected from an electrocardiogram or echocardiogram, which can highlight heart muscle damage. Another method is a blood test for the molecular footprints of troponin T, a protein released by injured heart cells. That test is often used in emergency departments for patients with heart attack symptoms.

    Once an SMI is diagnosed, your doctor can identify your main risk factors and help design a treatment strategy, including changing your diet, exercising regularly, and taking a statin as well as other medication to help prevent a second heart attack .

    “If you do notice any symptoms of a SMI, do not brush them aside, even if you do not think they are serious,” says Dr. Plutzky. “Playing it safe is always a better move than risking the potential harmful downside.”

    What A Mild Heart Attack Means

    A mild heart attack is a common way of referring to what physicians call a non-ST elevation myocardial infarction, or NSTEMI. .

    In this type of heart attack, blood flow through one of the coronary arteries was partially blocked, limiting the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart muscle.

    If you were told youve had a mild heart attack, it probably means your heart didnt suffer much damage and still pumps normally, Dr. Campbell says.

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    Heart Attack Treatment: Time Is Muscle

    People who experience some of these subtle signs are oftenhesitant to head to the hospital. After all, nausea or neck pain can haveother, not-so-serious causes. And a feeling that something just isnt right?Thats frustratingly vague and hard to explain to a doctor.

    But if theres even a chance you are having a heart attack, its better to act fast and early thanlate.

    A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, damaging the heart muscle. Without urgent treatment, heart tissue will begin to die. Time is muscle, Dr. Abdallah says. The sooner your doctor starts treatment, the better the outcome.

    Doctors can give medications and perform procedures to remove blockages and restore blood flow to the heart. And such therapy has gotten better and more effective over the years, he adds. Treating heart attacks has been one of the great interventions in the history of medicine.

    What Are The Signs Of A Massive Heart Attack

    Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack? Here are the 8 ...

    One of the most important organ of the body is the heart. As long as it is working and is pumping blood properly, we are alive. To help the heart pump blood properly, there are some muscles that help. The blood vessels send oxygenated blood to the heart and that is how these muscles pump blood. Due to deposition of cholesterol or excessive amount of fat in the blood vessels, when the heart doesnt receive enough of the oxygenated blood, the heart tissue cells die. This is called heart attack Myocardial Infarction in technical or medical terms.

    When a large portion of the heart tissues cells die due to the lack of oxygenated blood, it is known as a massive heart attack. This can cause severe and permanent damage to the sufferer, making him/her unconscious or the person may also drop dead on the spot.

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    What Does A Heart Attack Feel Like

    Knowing the early warning signs of heart attack is critical for prompt recognition and treatment. Many heart attacks start slowly, unlike the dramatic portrayal often seen in the movies. A person experiencing a heart attack may not even be sure of what is happening. Heart attack symptoms vary among individuals, and even a person who has had a previous heart attack may have different symptoms in a subsequent heart attack. Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, heart attack victims may experience a diversity of symptoms. The following list describes the symptoms of a heart attack in more detail.

    When Chest Pains Are Serious

    Unlike an achy knee or crabby lower back, chest pain isn’t something to shrug off until tomorrow. It also isn’t something to diagnose at home. Don’t play doctor go see one, fast, if you are worried about pain or discomfort in your chest, upper back, left arm, or jaw or suddenly faint or develop a cold sweat, nausea, or vomiting. Call 911 or your local emergency number to summon an emergency medical crew. It will whisk you to the hospital in a vehicle full of equipment that can start the diagnosis and keep you stable if your heart really is in trouble.

    There are oh-so-many reasons to delay calling for help.

    • I’m too young .
    • I’m in great shape .
    • I have a family to take care of .
    • I don’t want to bother anyone .

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    Your Legs Feet And Ankles Are Swollen

    This could be a sign that your heart doesnât pump blood as effectively as it should.

    When the heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating.

    Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating.

    Waiting For The Ambulance

    How to know if you’re having a heart attack

    If someone has had a heart attack, it’s important they rest while waiting for the ambulance. They should avoid unnecessary strain on the heart.

    If you have aspirin, give them an adult-sized tablet while waiting for the ambulance. They should slowly chew and swallow the tablet. Do not give them aspirin if they are allergic to it.

    The aspirin helps to thin the blood and restore the heart’s blood supply.

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    Shortness Of Breath Nausea And Lightheadedness

    Shortness of breath can occur with or without a chest pain during a heart attack. Most people dont realize this can happen before or after a heart attack as wellespecially for women..

    Research has found that shortness of breath is the third most reported symptom before a heart attack among women and the top symptom during a heart attack.

    Heart Attack Symptoms: Women Vs Men

    Women may experience classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath as many men do, but they also tend to experience stomach pain, back pain, and other non-classic symptoms.

    Because of the subtlety in those symptoms, many women brush off these warning signs and already have heart damage by the time they get to the Emergency Department.

    And many women put their families before their own health. But you cant take care of your loved ones if your own health is not where it needs to be.

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    How Do You Treat A Silent Heart Attack

    Some people whose heart attacks go unrecognized learn about them weeks or months later when they visit their doctor, often for a yearly physical.

    We can tell the size of the heart attack by how much heart muscle has been damaged, often on an electrocardiogram , or even more precisely on a cardiac ultrasound, or echocardiogram, says Dr. Rimmerman.

    Other people visit their doctors soon after a silent heart attack because they experience persistent symptoms like fatigue and shortness of breath.

    Sometimes these symptoms are caused by a leaky mitral valve, caused by scarring of your heart muscle and associated valve dysfunction after a heart attack. Serious complications can follow, including decompensated heart failure, heart rhythm disorders and loss of consciousness.

    While atypical heart attack symptoms are most common among women and people with diabetes, they can happen to anyone, says Dr. Rimmerman.

    You Get Exhausted Easily

    What are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

    If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past — like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car — make an appointment with your doctor right away.

    “These types of significant changes are more important to us than every little ache and pain you might be feeling,” Bufalino says.

    Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of heart disease, especially for women.

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    What Is A Heart Attack In Dogs

    Heart attacks in dogs and cats are rare, but their hearts function similarly to human hearts. The technical term for a heart attack is myocardial infarction, and this occurs when blood flow to the heart wall is blocked.

    If you suspect your dog is having a heart attack, bring it to the vet as soon as possible. There is a version of CPR that can be performed on a dog, but it requires special training to do it correctly. Don’t attempt it if you’re not trained you could further injure your dog and waste precious minutes when you could be getting it to the vet’s office.

    When Is Chest Pain A Heart Attack

    Many people delay calling 999 when having chest pain as they often think it isnt serious. You should dial 999 immediately if your chest pain:

    • is sudden
    • spreads to you arms, back, neck or jaw
    • feels heavy or tight.

    Or if:

    • you become short of breath or start to feel sick.

    If your chest pain doesnt match these characteristics and you arent experiencing any other heart attack symptoms, there may be other explanations for your chest pain. These include angina, indigestion or a strained muscle.If you frequently experience unexplained chest pain, book an appointment with your GP as its possible you may have an undiagnosed heart condition.

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    Could You Have A Heart Attack And Not Know It

    Heres a surprising fact: nearly half of people who have a heart attack dont realize it at the time. These so-called silent heart attacks are only diagnosed after the event, when a recording of the hearts electrical activity or another test reveals evidence of damage to the heart.

    One explanation for this phenomenon may be a higher-than-average tolerance for pain. Some people mistake their symptoms as indigestion or muscle pain, while others may feel pain, but in parts of their upper body other than the center of the chest, says Dr. Kenneth Rosenfield, who heads the vascular medicine and intervention section at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital.

    Why Even Mild Heart Attacks Should Be Taken Seriously

    What to do if you think you are having heart attack symptoms

    Even if your heart comes through unscathed, a heart attack should be viewed as a wake-up call. You are at increased risk for another heart attack or a stroke. Its time to get serious, Dr. Campbell says.

    Your physician will make a plan for preventing another heart attack. But its you who must carry it out.

    It is extremely important to understand that how you live your life and manage your risk factors going forward will impact what happens to you next, he says. We urge you to recognize a mild heart attack as an important event and use it to make changes that positively impact your health.

    This article first appeared in Cleveland Clinic Heart Advisor.

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