Catch The Signs Early
Dont wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack;warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Download the;common heart attack warning signs infographic;|;
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.
Why You Should Call 911 For A Possible Heart Attack
You may feel hesitant to call 911 when you arent certain that youre having a heart attack. You might try the wait-and-see approach instead, or you might consider going to the hospital by car.
If youre truly having a heart attack, the quickest way to get help is calling 911. Youll receive care as soon as EMTs arrive, and people who arrive by ambulance to the emergency department for heart attacks are seen sooner than people who arrive by car. Damage to the heart muscle may occur within the first 90 minutes after a heart attack, so getting prompt care is essential, even if you arent entirely certain that what youre experiencing is a heart attack.
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Is There Anything That Distinguishes These Symptoms How Do You Know When Those Subtle Atypical Symptoms Are Concerning
Its important to know your risk for heart disease in order to assess early symptoms. Dr. Xu says when he works with a patient, they discuss his or her family and personal history, blood pressure, cholesterol levels, age and disease history to determine a risk level for heart attacks.
Within this context of risk, they talk about symptoms. Are they typical or not? How are they experienced? At rest or during exertion? Are they associated with emotional stress or cold weather? Are they happening in conjunction with other symptoms such as shortness of breath, rapid heartbeat or cold sweats?;This is the starting point for a treatment plan.
Heart Attack Symptoms In Women
If you have any of these signs, call 911 and get to a hospital right away.
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When You See Your Doctor:
- Bring;a list of your symptoms and when they are occurring.
- Let them know about any related;family history.
- Talk about stress or anything going on in your life that might contribute to a problem.
Your doctor likely willlisten to your symptoms and check your pulse and blood pressure. They may orderblood work, which will show whether your heart is;damaged.
They also may use an electrocardiogram ;to tell whether the electrical activity of your heart is normal, or an echocardiogram to view images of the heart to see if damage has occurred.;
All this is important inidentifying any problems and taking steps to intervene before a possible heartattack.
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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Waiting For An Ambulance
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.
What Are The Causes Of Heart Attacks
- Coronary artery disease: In this condition, a person may have a heart attack due to the damage to one or more coronary arteries .;
- Atherosclerosis: High levels of cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood can narrow the arteries by the buildup of plaque known as atherosclerosis. This results in the formation of a blood clot. If this clot gets bigger, a person can have a heart attack.
- Coronary Artery Rupture A heart attack may occur due to a rupture of the coronary artery. This condition is known as Spontaneous Coronary Artery Dissection . SCAD leads to a lack or slowing of blood flow to the heart that can lead to a heart attack.
- Spasm of the Coronary Artery- This is a condition where the muscles in the walls of the blood vessels supplying blood to the heart, get tightened. This decreases or may stop the blood supply to the heart muscles, leading to a heart attack.;
Treatment Of A Heart Attack May Include The Use Of Medications Like:
- Aspirin The 911 operator may instruct you take aspirin immediately to reduce blood clotting.
- Thrombolytics Often referred to as clotbusters, these medications help to dissolve the blood clot that is blocking blood flow.
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors ACE inhibitors expand your blood vessels and allow blood to flow more easily.
- Beta blockers These decrease the hearts workload, help relieve chest pain, and treat irregular heartbeats.
- Statins Statins help to lower blood cholesterol levels, reducing the chances of a future heart attack or stroke.
What Is The Meaning Of Heart Attack
A condition in which the blood flow to the heart is suddenly blocked is known as a heart attack or myocardial infarction. A heart attack can cause permanent damage to the heart muscle.
All the cells and organs have specific functions in the body. The heart is the main organ of our body; therefore, it is essential to keep it healthy. It functions to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the body. If the arteries that supply blood to the heart become narrowed or blocked, it can result in a heart attack. In India alone, every 35 seconds one person dies from a heart attack. Many people have become victims of heart attacks within the last year.;
Let us tell you in detail about the causes treatment and symptoms of a heart attack in todays article.
- What is a Heart Attack?;
- What are the Causes of Heart Attacks?
- What are the risk factors of a Heart attack?
- What are the symptoms of a Heart Attack?
- How to diagnose a Heart Attack?
- What are the treatments for Heart Attacks?
- What are the complications of a Heart Attack?
- How to Prevent Heart Attacks?
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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:
- 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.
What Is A Silent Heart Attack
Its true that some people have what are sometimes referred to as silent heart attacks. These result from temporary blockages in the coronary arteries. Sometimes they dont even produce mild heart attack symptoms, but many times they do. Evidence of a silent heart attack may only appear much later when your doctor is examining your heart for other reasons.
Silent heart attacks usually cause the same symptoms as other heart attacks but they are milder and dont last as long. Because they may never result in a visit to the ER, they remain silent.
But you cant count on a heart attack to be temporary or to cause only minimal damage. So treat major or minor heart attack symptoms as an emergency. The faster you seek medical help for a heart attack, the less damage your heart will suffer. A disruption of blood flow to the heart is a problem, and there will be consequences.
If you have risk factors for a heart attack, including high LDL cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, obesity, diabetes, or a family history of heart disease, and you start to feel heart attack symptoms of any kind, call 911. Dont try to drive yourself to a hospital. Your symptoms may become overwhelming, placing yourself and other motorists at risk on the road.
Make sure your loved ones know the symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if you or someone in your home starts to experience one. Sometimes fast treatment is what makes the difference between a heart attack being mild or major.
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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.
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.
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Make Preventing Another Heart Attack Your First Priority Here Are Five Things You Can Do:
Take your medications as prescribed. Certain medicines can greatly lower your risk of another cardiac event. Thats why its important for you to understand your medicines and take them correctly. Learn about managing your medications.
Attend your follow-up appointments. Attending your follow-up appointments will help your doctors keep track of your condition and recovery. You can make the most of your time with your doctor by preparing for your appointment.
Participate in cardiac rehabilitation. Cardiac rehabilitation is a medically supervised program designed to help you recover after a heart attack. You should have received a referral to cardiac rehab when you were discharged from the hospital if you didnt, ask your doctor about it. Learn more about cardiac rehab.
Get support. Its normal to feel scared, overwhelmed or confused after a heart attack. Getting support from loved ones or from people who have also experienced a heart attack can help you cope. Connect with other heart attack survivors and caregivers through our Support Network.
Manage your risk factors. After a heart attack, its important to manage risk factors by taking medications, quitting smoking, eating healthy food and getting active. Find out more about managing your risk factors.
Heart Attack Types And Diagnosis
A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction, sometimes simply referred to as an MI. A heart attack occurs when a blockage in one or more coronary arteries reduces or stops blood flow to the heart, which starves part of the heart muscle of oxygen.
The blood vessel blockage might be complete or partial:
- A complete blockage of a coronary artery means you suffered a STEMI heart attack which stands for ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
- A partial blockage translates to an NSTEMI heart attack a non-ST-elevation myocardial infarction.
Diagnostic steps differ for STEMI and NSTEMI heart attacks, although there can be some overlap.;
Remember: Never try to diagnose yourself. Always dial 911 if you think you might be having a heart attack.;The EMS crew in your ambulance will route you to the right hospital based on your location.
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What Do You Do If You Have A Heart Attack
If you have any of the listed symptoms:
- tell someone and ask them to get help right away
The faster you get help, the better your chances of surviving a heart attack. Half of heart attack deaths happen within 2 hours of the first signs.
On average, Canadians wait almost 5 hours before getting medical help. Many people find it hard to believe that they are having a heart attack. They convince themselves that the symptoms are something else and that they will go away.
Not getting help for your symptoms could lead to death. New therapies and drugs can reduce damage and save your life if treatment begins soon enough. Your health care provider will work with you to determine treatment and recovery needs.
If you have suffered a heart attack, having important health information close by can help medical staff treat you. Carry personal health information with you at all times and have it posted by your phone. You may not be able to tell medical staff this information yourself, depending on your condition.
Your list should include:
- telephone and health care number
- medical history
- current medications
- health care provider
- health insurance number for expenses that are not covered under provincial health insurance plans, such as:
- ambulance services
Heart Attacks In Older Adults
Many older adults may not experience chest pain during heart attacks, particularly those with diabetes. Older people may have silent heart attacks, or they may notice mild symptoms, including:
- feeling fatigued or tired
- shortness of breath
Sometimes, older adults experience some of the milder heart-attack symptoms that women experience, like heartburn, nausea or sweating.
If youre concerned that you could be having a heart attack because of these milder symptoms, call 911 to get checked out. Even if youre only having trouble catching your breath especially if you havent done anything to physically exert yourself its worthwhile to investigate.
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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.
Heart Attacks When Theres A Language Barrier
Research has found that individuals who dont speak the local language are less likely to:
- know the signs and symptoms of heart attack
- see doctors regularly, which may help to lower the risk of heart attack
Others who may be unable to communicate efficiently could experience the same problems. Additionally, adults who are nonverbal may have difficulty expressing that theyre having a heart attack and need medical attention.
If your loved one has communication challenges and doesnt feel well, ask about subtle symptoms. You may help them get the care that they need.
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When To Call The Doctor
If you have any signs of heart disease, call your health care provider right away. Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away or dismiss them as nothing.
- You have chest pain or other symptoms of a heart attack
- You know you have angina and have chest pain that doesn’t go away after 5 minutes of rest or after taking nitroglycerine
- You think you may be having a heart attack
- You become extremely short of breath
- You think you may have lost consciousness