Signs Symptoms And Complications
Not all heart attacks begin with the sudden, crushing chest pain that often is shown on TV or in the movies. In one study, for example, one-third of the patients who had heart attacks had no chest pain. These patients were more likely to be older, female, or diabetic.
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people can have few symptoms and are surprised to learn they’ve had a heart attack. If you’ve already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one. It is important for you to know the most common symptoms of a heart attack and also remember these facts:
- Heart attacks can start slowly and cause only mild pain or discomfort. Symptoms can be mild or more intense and sudden. Symptoms also may come and go over several hours.
- People who have high blood sugar may have no symptoms or very mild ones.
- The most common symptom, in both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort.
- Women are somewhat more likely to have shortness of breath, nausea and vomiting, unusual tiredness , and pain in the back, shoulders, and jaw.
Some people don’t have symptoms at all. Heart attacks that occur without any symptoms or with very mild symptoms are called silent heart attacks.
Recognizing When To Get Emergency Medical Attention
- Pay attention to pain . A pain within the chest, whether its sharp or dull, is that the commonest sign of a heart attack. People that are having heart attacks often say they feel squeezing, fullness, pressure, tightness, or a pointy sensation within the center or left area of the chest. This sense may last a couple of minutes or more, or disappear and return later.
- Pain that stems from an attack isnt always the crushing, heavy feeling that some people describe often called the Hollywood attack . It can actually be quite mild, so dont ignore any sort of pain.
- Retrosternal pain is usually felt. This refers to a pain behind the breastbone, or sternum. Its easy to confuse this pain with abdominal discomfort, like gas. If youve got any doubt about this pain, call a doctor.
- Confine mind that pain isnt always present when a heart attack is occurring in fact, over half of attack patients dont experience pain . Dont rule out the likelihood of a heart attack just because you are not hurting therein area.
- Check for discomfort within the upper body. Sometimes the pain from a heart attack radiates from the chest area outward, causing discomfort within the neck, jaw, abdomen, upper back, and therefore the left arm. The pain in these areas is typically a dull ache. If you havent recently figured out or done anything that would cause upper body soreness, this sort of pain could be a sign youre having a heart attack.
Recognizing Other Early Warning Signs
- Seek medical attention for angina. Angina is pain which will desire a small pressure, a burning, or a fullness. Its often mistaken for heartburn. Angina are often a symbol of coronary heart disease, which is that the commonest explanation for heart attacks. If you are feeling any sort of pain in your chest, it is best to urge it verified directly.
- Most angina pain occurs within the chest. However, its going to also occur within the arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, throat, or back. Its going to be hard to inform exactly where you are feeling the pain.
- Angina pain usually gets better once youve rested for a couple of minutes. If your pain lasts for quite a couple of minutes or doesnt improve with rest or angina medication, seek emergency medical assistance.
- Some people experience angina after exercising, and it isnt always a symbol of disease or an attack. A change in normal patterns is that the most vital thing to observe for.
- If youve got what you think to be painful indigestion, youll actually be experiencing angina. Make a meeting together with your doctor to work out the explanation for the pain.
- Be aware of disorientation, confusion, and stroke-like symptoms. In older people, these symptoms may very well be a symbol of heart problems. Seek medical attention if you experience unexplainable cognitive difficulties.
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Is My Heart Permanently Damaged
When a heart attack occurs, the heart muscle that has lost blood supply begins to suffer injury. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked artery and the time between injury and treatment.
Heart muscle damaged by a heart attack heals by forming scar tissue. It usually takes several weeks for your heart muscle to heal. The length of time depends on the extent of your injury and your own rate of healing.
The heart is a very tough organ. Even though a part of it may have been severely injured, the rest of the heart keeps working. But, because of the damage, your heart may be weakened, and unable to pump as much blood as usual.
Learn more about heart damage detection.
Why Choose The Hospitals Of Providence For Your Early Heart Attack Care
The Hospitals of Providence has EHAC teams who genuinely care about you and your loved ones. Our hospitals are located across El Paso to provide accessible care to the communities in this city and nearby areas. At the same time, we have received multiple recognitions for the compassionate care and patient-centered cardiovascular services we offer.
Some of the accreditations and recognitions we received in recent years are as follows:
For Sierra Campus
- Chest Pain Reaccreditation by the Society of Cardiovascular Care
- ACC HeartCARE Center Designation by the American College of Cardiology
- Grade A rating for patient safety in the Leapfrog Groups Fall 2019 Safety Score
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Risk Factors You Can’t Control
Risk factors that you can’t control include:
- Age. The risk of heart disease increases for men after age 45 and for women after age 55 .
- Family history of early heart disease. Your risk increases if your father or a brother was diagnosed with heart disease before 55 years of age, or if your mother or a sister was diagnosed with heart disease before 65 years of age.
- Preeclampsia . This condition can develop during pregnancy. The two main signs of preeclampsia are a rise in blood pressure and excess protein in the urine. Preeclampsia is linked to an increased lifetime risk of heart disease, including CHD, heart attack, heart failure, and high blood pressure.
- Infections. Watch our video on how SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, may affect the heart. Additionally, we offer information and resources on how we are working hard to support necessary COVID-19 research.
How Is A Heart Attack Different From Cardiac Arrest
People often use these terms to mean the same thing, but they describe different events.
A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked. Its a circulation problem.
With sudden cardiac arrest , the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. Sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.
A heart attack can cause a cardiac arrest. In cardiac arrest , death results when the heart suddenly stops working properly. This is caused by irregular heart rhythms called arrhythmias.
The most common arrhythmia in cardiac arrest is ventricular fibrillation. This is when the hearts lower chambers suddenly start beating chaotically and dont pump blood. Death occurs within minutes after the heart stops.
Cardiac arrest may be reversed if CPR is performed and a defibrillator is used within minutes to shock the heart and restore a normal heart rhythm.
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A Cough That Wont Quit
In most cases, this isn’t a sign of heart trouble. But if you have heart disease or know you’re at risk, pay special attention to the possibility.
If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it could be a sign of heart failure. This happens when the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs.
Ask your doctor to check on whatâs causing your cough.
Anxiety And Depression After A Heart Attack
After a heart attack, many people worry about having another heart attack. Sometimes they feel depressed and have trouble adjusting to new lifestyle changes.
Talk about how you feel with your health care team. Talking to a professional counselor also can help. If you’re very depressed, your doctor may recommend medicines or other treatments that can improve your quality of life.
Joining a patient support group may help you adjust to life after a heart attack. You can see how other people who have the same symptoms have coped with them. Talk with your doctor about local support groups or check with an area medical center.
Support from family and friends also can help relieve stress and anxiety. Let your loved ones know how you feel and what they can do to help you.
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Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Attack
If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 and get to a hospital right away.
Let’s Win This Together
Heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women. Support the innovative research, education and prevention services that protect the women we love.
Weve all seen the movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic.
Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure, said Nieca Goldberg, M.D., medical director for the Joan H. Tisch Center for Women’s Health at NYUs Langone Medical Center and an American Heart Association volunteer. Instead 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.
Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesnt get help right away.
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What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack
- Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
- Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.
Symptoms Of A Heart Attack In Men
Youre more likely to experience a heart attack if youre a man. Men also have heart attacks earlier in life compared to women. If you have a family history of heart disease or a history of cigarette smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, or other risk factors, your chances of having a heart attack are even higher.
Fortunately, a lot of research has been done on how mens hearts react during heart attacks.
Symptoms of a heart attack in men include:
- standard chest pain/pressure that feels like an elephant is sitting on your chest, with a squeezing sensation that may come and go or remain constant and intense
- upper body pain or discomfort, including arms, left shoulder, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- rapid or irregular heartbeat
- stomach discomfort that feels like indigestion
- shortness of breath, which may leave you feeling like you cant get enough air, even when youre resting
- dizziness or feeling like youre going to pass out
- breaking out in a cold sweat
Its important to remember, however, that each heart attack is different. Your symptoms may not fit this cookie-cutter description. Trust your instincts if you think something is wrong.
In recent decades, scientists have realized that heart attack symptoms can be quite different for women than for men.
Symptoms of heart attack in women include:
In a 2012 survey published in the journal Circulation, only 65 percent of women said theyd call 911 if they thought they might be having a heart attack.
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Causes Of A Heart Attack
Coronary heart disease is the leading cause of heart attacks.
CHD is a condition in which the major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged with deposits of cholesterol, known as plaques.
Before a heart attack, 1 of the plaques bursts , causing a blood clot to develop at the site of the rupture.
The clot may block the supply of blood to the heart, triggering a heart attack.
Heart Attack Warning Signs And Symptoms
Recognising the symptoms of a heart attack and calling Triple Zero could save your life or the life of a loved one. Its important that everyone, both male and female, know the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack, because early treatment is vital. The longer a blockage is left untreated, the more damage occurs. The most common heart attack warning signs are:
- Chest discomfort or pain . This can feel like uncomfortable pressure, aching, numbness, squeezing, fullness or pain in your chest. This discomfort can spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back. It can last for several minutes or come and go
- Dizziness, light-headedness, feeling faint or feeling anxious
- Nausea, indigestion, vomiting
- Shortness of breath or difficulty breathing with or without chest discomfort
- Sweating or a cold sweat.
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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.”
Next Steps & Resources:
- Meet our source: Luis Astudillo, M.D.
- To make an appointment with Dr. Astudillo, or a doctor near you, call 800-822-8905 or visit our website.
The material provided through HealthU is intended to be used as general information only and should not replace the advice of your physician. Always consult your physician for individual care.
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Surprising Signs You May Be Having A Heart Attack
Luis Astudillo, M.D. contributes to topics such as Cardiology.
When people have heart attacks in movies, they usually clutch their chests dramatically, break out in a cold sweat and drop to the floor. In real life, some people experience heart attacks this way, but there are many other less obvious symptoms which may indicate that someone is having a heart attack.
Its important to know all of the signs including subtler ones to ensure that you get the emergency care that you need.
Many people who have heart attacks dont have classic symptoms, so they may think that theyre experiencing indigestion, fatigue or muscle soreness from physical exertion, says Luis Astudillo, M.D., a cardiologist at Palisades Medical Center. Women and older adults in particular may not exhibit the typical signs that many people would immediately recognize.
What Does A Heart Attack Feel Like
Some of the sensations you may feel during a heart attack include:
- Chest pain that can range from mild to severe, or an uncomfortable pressure, tightness, squeezing or heaviness in your chest. The discomfort can last more than a few minutes at a time and sometimes goes away for a short time but returns later.
- Pain or a sensation of being squeezed that starts in the upper back.
- Pain that starts from your left shoulder and arm, and goes into other areas such as your back, jaw, neck or right arm.
- Pain that feels like heartburn or indigestion.
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Early Signs Of A Heart Attack
Are your vague symptoms just fatigue or something serious? Learn the early warning signs that could signal a heart attack.
Sutter Medical Foundation
Sutter Medical Center, Sacramento
Many of us have experienced that moment. Perhaps were driving in traffic or working out at the gym when we feel a twinge in our chest, or an aggressive pulse. Or maybe we just dont feel right. We might pause at these moments and wonder if its time to hightail it the doctor or if this is normal.
The reality is people can notice subtle heart attack symptoms months before an actual event occurs, says Sutter Zi-Jian Xu, M.D., a cardiologist in the Sutter Health network.
Dr. Xu frequently discusses heart attack symptoms and prevention with his patients. Heres what you need to know.