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How To Tell If Having Heart Attack

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Should I Still Call 999 Or Go To Hospital If I’m Worried About My Health

How to Know if You’re Having a Heart Attack

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.

Heart Attack Or Heartburn Nine Ways To Tell

Youve just finished a not-so-lovely dinner of hamburgers and French fries when the chest pain strikes. How do you know if the chest pain is a symptom of a heart attack — or indigestion? Do you know the signs of heartburn versus the signs of heart attack?

Need to Know

Heart attack can be sudden and dramatic. When the heart comes to a screeching halt, it is called sudden cardiac arrest.

But most heart attacks are far more subtle. In fact, many people have experienced small heart attacks without even realizing it. Always if you have chest pain that lasts for more than a few minutes or any other warning signs of heart attack such as:

  • Crushing chest pain that spreads to the arms, neck or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath
  • A cold sweat
  • Feeling faint

Chest pain is always an indication that something is awry, but it can be tricky to figure out whether its angina, heart attack, heartburn, or another gastrointestinal problem. Thats partly because nerves in the stomach and heart are far less specific than nerves in other parts of the body.

Many of the nerves throughout the gastrointestinal track and the heart send the same signal to the brain: chest pain. If someone steps on your toe, you can immediately tell which toe they stomped on. Not so in the heart and stomach. Injuries to the heart, lungs, pancreas, esophagus, or stomach may all cause similar feelings of pain that seems to originate from the chest.

Need to Know

Question 1: What is the chest pain like?

Need to Know

Why Do Anxiety Attacks Cause Heart Attack

Panic attacks tend to cause a chain reaction in the body that triggers many of these physical symptoms. Some of these reactions include:

  • Hyperventilation Poor breathing can cause chest pains, shortness of breath, etc. It can also lead to lightheadedness and muscle weakness.
  • Adrenaline The anxiety from a panic attack leads to an adrenaline rush, causing rapid heartbeat. Like hyperventilation, it can cause tingling in the extremities and other heart attack-like symptoms.
  • Hyper-sensitivity Another issues is known as hypersensitivity. It’s when the person experiences a lesser symptom more than someone without hypersensitivity would experience. For example, a small amount of chest pain might physically feel more severe, when any other person would shrug it off.

In addition, physical stress can cause a host of problems, like memory loss, indigestion, and more, and these can contribute to the heart attack experience in their own way.

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Real Stories About Experiencing Heart Attack

“I never connect nausea, shoulder pain, heart attack together. However, one day I was cutting the grass one afternoon and walked to the house to drink water and had a sit. Then I felt nauseated and sudden pain that spread to my arm, which then curled up and could not uncurl. I had my grandson call 911 and was flown directly to a cardiac hospital after the ambulance crew said I was in full ST elevation myocardial infraction. I coded 4 times, but I recovered and was released the next day.”

“I am 58 and 3 weeks ago I had a heart attack. For a month I had symptoms like pain in my jaw, shoulder, face, arm, back and a burning in my chest. All these I felt on the left side of my body. The pain would always ease up, but one night I woke up and the pain did not go away. I took aspirin and I started throwing up, i was rushed to ER where they told me I was having a heart attack. I got treated and I now am home.”

“My mother complained about shoulder pain. Not much attention was paid and her joints ached as well but she thought it was flu. The day she experience chest pain was the day she passed out because of a major heart attack.”

Heart Attack Warning Signs

How to know if youre probably having a heart attack ...

While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, many start less noticeably, with mild pain or discomfort at first. The most common heart attack symptom, for both men and women, is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomitting, and back or jaw pain.

The American Heart Association lists the below as the major signs of a heart attack:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
  • Shortness of breath
  • Other signs, including breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness

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Arm Back Neck Jaw Or Stomach Pain Or Discomfort

Heart attack pain may not be confined to the chest area. Pain or discomfort in your arm, back, neck, jaw, or stomach can also be heart attack-related.

But many people do not associate pain in these areas with having a heart attack which may prevent them from getting immediate medical attention.

Some head-to-toe signs of a heart attack include:

  • Lightheadedness
  • Jaw, neck, or back pain
  • Arm or shoulder pain or discomfort
  • Shortness of breath

If you feel sudden discomfort in these areas, call 9-1-1.

Signs And Symptoms Of Heart Attack

If you have any of these signs, call 9-1-1 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.
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    Women May Experience Different Warning Signs

    Before a heart attack, so its important for women to be aware of them and take them seriously.

    • Pain or discomfort in the center of the chest.
    • Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body, including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
    • Other symptoms, such as a shortness of breath, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

    What’s The Difference Between Angina And A Heart Attack

    How to know if youre having a heart attack

    Angina is pain felt in your chest often caused by coronary heart disease. As the symptoms of angina are similar to a heart attack, its important to know how to distinguish between the two. If you havent been diagnosed with angina and you start experiencing chest pain that feels similar to the symptoms of a heart attack, phone 999 immediately.If you have angina and you start experiencing chest pain symptoms similar to a heart attack:

    • sit down and rest
    • use your glyceryl trinitrate spray that youve been prescribed
    • if the pain still persists after a few minutes, take another dose of your spray
    • if the pain doesnt go away a few minutes after your second dose, dial 999 immediately.

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    Anxiety As A Heart Attack Symptom

    One other common heart attack symptom is anxiety, or a vague but undeniable feeling that somethings wrong.

    Research shows that a heart attack causes victims to feel like theyre having a panic attack. But this is a dangerous assumption. Rather than get help immediately, some individuals having a heart attack want to chalk up their symptoms to indigestion or anxiety or feeling worn out from too much exertion.

    In addition, if the pressure in your chest isnt too uncomfortable and youre just a little short of breath, you may think youre having some mild heart attack symptoms. This could lead you to not take them seriously.

    see our posts Heart Attack Symptoms in Men: 5 Common Signs and Heart Attack Symptoms in Women.)

    Where It May Hurt

    During a heart attack, the location of the pain can also vary quite a bit from person to person, notes Dr. Rosenfield. It may occur in the arm, shoulder, neck, jaw, or elsewhere in the upper half of the body. “I had one patient who had earlobe pain, and another who felt pain in his wrist,” says Dr. Rosenfield. Other nonclassic symptoms people often dont attribute to a heart attack include nausea, vomiting, and weakness.

    During his career, Dr. Rosenfield has seen many thousands of people whove had heart attacks. “Theres no question that women are more likely to experience nonclassic heart attack symptoms, but its important to remember that men can have those symptoms, too.”

    Heart attack symptoms

    Although the most common sign of a heart attack in both men and women is the classic one discomfort in the center of the chest that spreads through the upper body this symptom doesnt always occur. Some people experience nonclassic symptoms, and these may be slightly more frequent in women and in older people.

    Classic symptoms
    • Pressure, aching, or tightness in the center of the chest
    • Pain or discomfort that radiates to the upper body, especially shoulders or neck and arms
    • Sweating

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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.

    When Should I See A Doctor

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    Its important not to ignore symptoms and wait until they become severe. If you have a concern, talk to your doctor. If heart disease is caught early, there are many lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of further problems: eat a healthy diet with plenty of fruits and vegetables, get regular exercise , maintain a healthy weight, drink alcohol in moderation , and dont smoke.

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    How To Recognize The Signs Of A Heart Attack And What To Do

    It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack, which can vary by person. Sometimes a person may have a heart attack without realizing it and not seek the emergency medical care they need. That could lead to lasting heart damage.

    The medical name for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction .

    A heart attack usually happens because a coronary artery becomes blocked, reducing or stopping the nourishing blood supply to the heart muscle.

    Chest pain is the most recognized sign of a heart attack, but the symptoms someone experiences can depend on their gender and age.

    It is essential to identify a heart attack as early as possible and seek prompt medical attention. Treatment can minimize damage and increase the chances of a full recovery.

    This article looks at the various symptoms of heart attacks, how these may vary in females and older adults, and when to seek medical attention. It also looks at risk factors, treatment, and prevention.

    Most people know that chest pain is a typical heart attack symptom. However, a heart attack can affect the entire body, not just the heart.

    Individuals of different ages and sexes may experiences heart attack symptoms differently.

    Most heart attacks do have several defining symptoms, which according to the , are:

    How Is A Heart Attack Diagnosed

    A heart attack is a medical emergency. If youre experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, call Triple Zero and ask for an ambulance. An ambulance is the safest way to go to hospital and the quickest way to seek treatment. Treatment can start when ambulance staff arrive, saving precious minutes and preventing damage to your heart muscle. Once you get to hospital, your doctor will perform tests to diagnose if youre having a heart attack. These tests will also measure the amount of damage caused to your heart and the best treatment course to take.These tests include:

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    Heart Attack And Sudden Cardiac Arrest Differences

    People often use these terms interchangeably, but they are not synonyms. A heart attack is when blood flow to the heart is blocked, and sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. A heart attack is a circulation problem and sudden cardiac arrest is an electrical problem.

    What Is A Heart Attack

    How to tell if you’re having a heart attack

    A heart attack occurs when a blocked artery prevents oxygen-rich blood from reaching a section of the heart. If the blocked artery is not reopened quickly, the part of the heart normally nourished by that artery begins to die. The longer a person goes without treatment, the greater the damage.

    Symptoms of a heart attack may be immediate and intense. More often, though, symptoms start slowly and persist for hours, days or weeks before a heart attack. Unlike with sudden cardiac arrest, the heart usually does not stop beating during a heart attack. The heart attack symptoms in women can be different than men.

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    Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack That You May Not Know

    Just as no two hearts beat the same, no two heart attacks are the same, even for the same person. It is different for everyone and the warning signs someone experiences before a heart attack can vary drastically from person to person. Heart attacks happen when one or more of the coronary arteries, which supply blood to your heart, become blocked. This means blood and oxygen cant reach the heart and causes damage to the heart muscle.

    Chest discomfort or pain is the most common warning sign of a heart attack. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, aching, numbness, squeezing or fullness in your chest. Many people are familiar with this warning sign, as its the classic sign often depicted on TV or in the movies. Sometimes people describe the pain or discomfort as an elephant sitting on my chest. It can spread to your arms, neck, jaw or back, lasting for several minutes or coming and going in waves. However, it is important to remember that in some people, a life-threatening heart attack can start slowly with only mild pain or discomfort. In other cases, people might not get any chest pain at all.

    Did you know there are some less obvious and less common warning signs that people might experience before a heart attack? Here are five that you might not expect:

    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

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    What Is Atrial Fibrillation

    Atrial fibrillation, or AFib, is a quivery, fluttery heartbeat. You might also hear the doctor call it arrhythmia. It means your hearts normal rhythm is out of whack. Because your blood isn’t moving well, you’re more likely to have heart failure. That’s when your heart can’t keep up with your bodys needs. Blood can also pool inside your heart and form clots. If one gets stuck in your brain, you can have a stroke.

    What happens in AFib? Normally, the top part of your heart squeezes first, then the bottom part . The timing of these contractions is what moves the blood. When you have AFib, the electrical signals that control this process are off-kilter. Instead of working together, the atria do their own thing.

    I Thought I Had The Flu

    Know the signs of a heart attack and dont ignore or ...

    Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.

    They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first, Goldberg said. There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.

    A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances .

    Watch an animation of a heart attack.

    Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable the image of the elephant comes to mind but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.

    You could feel so short of breath, as though you ran a marathon, but you haven’t made a move, Goldberg said.

    Some women experiencing a heart attack describe upper back pressure that feels like squeezing or a rope being tied around them, Goldberg said. Dizziness, lightheadedness or actually fainting are other symptoms to look for.

    Many women I see take an aspirin if they think they are having a heart attack and never call 911, Goldberg said. But if they think about taking an aspirin for their heart attack, they should also call 911.

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