What Are The Symptoms Of A Heart Attack
Heart attack symptoms can vary but the most common signs of a heart attack are:
- chest pain or discomfort that suddenly occurs and doesnt go away. It may feel like pressure, squeezing or heaviness in your chest. It can feel like indigestion or a burning sensation
- pain that may spread to your left or right arm or may spread to your neck, jaw, back or stomach
- feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.
Other less common symptoms include:
- a sudden feeling of anxiety that can feel similar to a panic attack
- excessive coughing or wheezing due to a build up of fluid in the lungs.
Pain levels can also vary from person to person. For some people the pain or tightness in their chest is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable, or pain similar to indigestion. Heart attack symptoms can persist over days, or they can come on suddenly and unexpectedly.
Another Reason Your Chest May Hurt
That pain in your chest could be linked to another kind of attack that has nothing to do with your heart.
A panic attack or anxiety can reveal itself with symptoms chest tightness, sweating, shortness of breath that mimic those of a heart attack. There are some key differences between a panic attack and a heart attack, though.
- Many heart attacks follow physical strain or exertion, an indicator not typically connected to panic attacks.
- Panic attacks often feature a stabbing pain as opposed to the elephant-on-your-chest squeezing feeling that often accompanies a heart attack.
- Pain from heart attacks frequently radiates to other areas. In a panic attack, it usually stays in the chest area.
Preventing A Heart Attack
There are 5 main steps you can take to reduce your risk of having a heart attack :
- smokers should quit smoking
- lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
- do regular exercise adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, unless advised otherwise by the doctor in charge of your care
- eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- moderate your alcohol consumption
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Recognizing A Heart Attack
It Might Be Angina Not A Heart Attack
Your doctor may use the word “angina” or “angina pectoris,” when discussing your chest pain. Actually, angina is the medical term for chest pain, pressure or tightness but it’s not the same as a heart attack.
- A heart attack occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is suddenly and completely cut off, usually by a blood clot.
- Angina occurs when the amount of blood flowing to the heart muscle can’t meet the heart’s demand for blood.
Blood supply to the heart muscle is typically reduced by atherosclerosis, the build-up of fatty plaque in the arteries that supply the heart. When the heart’s demand for blood flow increases in someone with restricted blood supply to the heart, that person may experience angina symptoms, including squeezing, burning, tightness or a sensation of pressure in the chest.
Health experts classify angina in two categories: stable angina and unstable angina. Stable angina occurs during activity or emotional stress, whereas unstable angina typically happens while at rest.
If you have angina, it means you have underlying coronary artery disease, but it doesn’t necessarily mean you’re having or are at increased risk of having a heart attack.
So how can you tell whether your chest pain is angina or a heart attack? Here are some important differences:
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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2
Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.
What If Your Doctor Assures You Its Just Stress Or Fatigue
If a young, healthy patient doesnt have other risk factors, the likelihood of having significant coronary artery disease is low. It may not be appropriate to jump into testing. But the important thing is to always keep coronary risks in mind. Anyone who is experiencing symptoms that dont go away or get worse should go back to a doctor for further evaluation.
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Discomfort That Lessens With Exercise
If a sharp pain strikes your chest but improves as you move around a bit well, you may be looking at a case of heartburn or some other gastrointestinal issue.
An estimated 15 million Americans a day experience heartburn, which brings an uncomfortable burning feeling in your chest and a sour feeling in your throat. An over-the-counter antacid can help bring some relief.
While Waiting For The Ambulance
Stop any activity and rest while waiting for an ambulance. Dont try to drive yourself to hospital. Loosen any tight clothing, such as collar buttons or ties. Avoid breathing in cigarette smoke. Dont have anything to eat or drink.
If you have been prescribed angina medicine, sit or lie down and take a dose of this under your tongue. If this doesnt relieve your symptoms in 5 minutes, try taking 2 more doses at 5-minute intervals.
Chew 300mg aspirin straight away, unless you’re allergic or your doctor has told you not to. Do not give aspirin to anyone under 12 years.
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How Long Will I Need To Rest After My Heart Attack
Rest is important after a heart attack, but it’s just as important for you to participate in recreation and social events and to begin making physical activity a part of your daily life. In many cases doctors will recommend that survivors get more physical activity than they got before their heart attack. A good night’s rest is especially important for heart attack patients. And if you feel tired during the day, take a nap or a short rest. Heart patients should rest before they get too tired. Your doctor will tell you what’s best for your specific situation, but most heart attack patients find they have plenty of energy for both work and leisure activities.
How Can Being In Tune With Our Bodies Prevent Chest Pain
Future prevention of chest pain begins with detailed observation of the existing pain:
- When does it come on?
- How long does it last?
- Does it travel to other locations?
- What improves or worsens it?
Write it all down, and patterns will emerge. Once patients create a “symptom log,” they can present it to healthcare providers who can make specific suggestions for diagnosis and treatment of the symptoms.Exercise is also a great way to determine whether chest pain could be arising from the heart or not. If somebody experiences chest pain or pressure with a predictable level of physical activity, such as walking up a flight of stairs, and the pain resolves with rest, it is likely to be due to a narrowing in a coronary artery.
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Breaking Out In A Cold Sweat
Another common symptom is finding yourself breaking out in a cold sweat. The reason behind this symptom is that when you have clogged arteries, your heart requires more effort to pump blood, and sweating keeps your bodys temperature down during this extra effort.
For women, this means night sweats may not just be the result of menopause. They might also be a sign of heart problems.
If you experience any of these symptoms, make sure to consult your physician. Dont wait until it becomes urgent.
Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health
Whether or not you have coronavirus symptoms, it’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse.
We are hearing that fewer people are being seen in hospital with heart attacks in recent weeks, which suggests that people are not seeking help when they should do. If you have any of the symptoms described above, you should call 999.
Don’t delay because you think hospitals are too busy – the NHS still has systems in place to treat people for heart attacks. If you delay, you are more likely to suffer serious heart damage and more likely to need intensive care and to spend longer in hospital.
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Heart Attack Warning Signs And Symptoms: Chest Head Jaw And Tooth Pain
Chest discomfort, manifest as pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest
Chest pain is the hallmark symptom of a heart attack, although it can take many different forms. In other cases, chest pain may not occur at all. The characteristic chest pain of a heart attack has been described as a sense of pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain that starts in the center of the chest. The pain or discomfort typically lasts more than a few minutes, or it may go away and then return. It can spread down the arms, to the back, or to the head and neck. Both women and men report chest pain as a primary symptom of heart attack, but women more often than men are likely to have some of the other symptoms, such as nausea, jaw pain, or shortness of breath, that are described below.
Jaw pain, toothache, headache
The pain of a heart attack can spread down both arms, to the jaw or head, or to the back. Some people report tooth pain or headache as a symptom of a heart attack. It is possible to have these types of pain without chest pain during a heart attack.
Shortness of breath
Feeling short of breath or like you are gasping for air is a common symptom of a heart attack. Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, is medically known as dyspnea. Shortness of breath may occur before or during the chest pain of a heart attack, and in some cases, it may be associated with other heart attack symptoms without any chest pain.
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Cardiac Arrest Vs Heart Attack
Sometimes there is confusion between the terms “cardiac arrest” and “heart attack.” A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is damage to the heart muscle that occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs to function properly.
Cardiac arrest means that the heart stops beating and death is imminent. A heart attack, if severe, can lead to cardiac arrest, and this is what occurs when a heart attack is fatal. However, other conditions, such as serious arrhythmias or shock, can also cause cardiac arrest.
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What Is A Panic Attack
A panic attack is a sudden overwhelming feeling of dread, anxiety, or fear. They can come on suddenly for no reason or can be triggered by certain phobias or fears. Most panic attacks share many common symptoms, but the one defining characteristic of panic attacks is the crippling sense of fear.
Panic attacks can happen once or twice in someones life, or they can be chronic and happen on and off for years. You may not realize youre having a panic attack at first. Some people describe the symptoms as feeling like theyre having a heart attack. The most common feeling many people have is a sense of dread and impending doom and the urge to fight or flee.
If youre experiencing a feeling of fear or dread and have at least four of the following symptoms, you may be having a panic attack. Panic attack symptoms include:
- Chills or hot flashes
- Trouble breathing or feeling like youre being smothered
- Shakiness or trembling all over
- Feeling detached from events around you or feeling like youre looking at things from far away
- A sudden sense of dread or feeling like youre dying
- Feeling like youre losing control or going crazy
- Tightness in the chest or trouble breathing
Is It Normal To Feel So Depressed
Heart attack patients will feel a wide range of emotions, typically for about two to six months after the event. Depression is quite normal, along with fear and anger. For example, every time you feel a little pain, you may feel afraid its going to happen again afraid youre going to die. Thats normal and will begin to pass as time goes by. You may be angry that this happened, and youre probably feeling irritated and have a short fuse with others. Resentment is common after a heart attack. Try to understand that your family and friends are just as worried as you are. Although depression is normal after a heart attack, if it interferes with sleeping, eating, self-esteem, or if you have thoughts of suicide, you should talk to your doctor and those close to you about your feelings. Dont be afraid to ask for help. Recovery is much faster with a trusted support team of healthcare professionals, family and friends.
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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.
Sit Down And Stay Calm
Try to relax and remain calm while you wait for help to arrive.
If youre at home alone, open the front door and sit on the floor near the entrance.
This will help the paramedics easily find you in case you lose consciousness before the ambulance arrives, and give them a flat surface on which to begin CPR if necessary.
Less Likely To Be A Heart Attack
Sensation of pain, or of pressure, tightness, squeezing, or burning
Sharp or knifelike pain brought on by breathing or coughing
Gradual onset of pain over the course of a few minutes
Sudden stabbing pain that lasts only a few seconds
Pain in diffuse area, including a constant pain in middle of chest
Pain clearly on one side of the body or the other
Pain that extends to the left arm, neck, jaw, or back
Pain that is localized to one small spot
Pain or pressure accompanied by other signs, such as difficulty breathing, a cold sweat, or sudden nausea
Pain that lasts for many hours or days without any other symptoms
Pain or pressure that appears during or after physical exertion or emotional stress or while you are at rest
Pain reproduced by pressing on the chest or with body motion
When Should I Call An Ambulance
If you have any of the symptoms below, call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance. If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile phone, try calling 112.
You should call triple zero immediately and ask for an ambulance if:
- your chest pain is severe, or worsening, or has lasted longer than 10 minutes
- your chest pain feels heavy, crushing or tight
- you have other symptoms, such as breathlessness, nausea, dizziness or a cold sweat
- you also feel the pain in your jaw or down your left arm
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What Are The Symptoms Of Chest Pain
Chest pain is a broad term for any pain, tightness or discomfort felt in your chest area. Depending on the cause of your chest pain, it can start suddenly or slowly, and may spread to other areas such as your back, jaw, neck or arms. It can also be a sharp pain, stabbing pain or a heavy chest pain. You may also have other symptoms along with chest pain, which will help your doctor work out what is causing your chest pain.
What Do These Early Symptoms Typically Look Like
Dr. Xu says the majority of patients experience somewhat typical symptoms, such as radiating chest pain, heaviness or discomfort, heart palpitations, cold sweats, and shortness of breath. Others — women more so than men — will experience some atypical symptoms as well, which may include fatigue, a general sense of unease, vague discomfort, back or abdominal pain and declining stamina. Both types of symptoms can be experienced months before an actual heart attack occurs.