Being able to recognize the signs of a heart attack can save a life. Too often, people tend to confuse their symptoms with a minor illness, such as indigestion, and opt against going to the hospital. Because treatment for heart attack has improved so significantly through the years, it is vital to recognize the symptoms, and to respond quickly.
It is important to remember that the chances of surviving a heart attack improve dramatically the quicker emergency treatment begins.
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack typically occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through the coronary artery, which pumps blood and oxygen to the heart. An interruption of blood flow to the heart can damage or destroy the heart muscle.
A heart attack can be fatal. Oftentimes, it’s because people confuse their symptoms with something much more minor and delay going to the hospital.
Here are the major symptoms of a heart attack –
- Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck or back.
- Feeling weak, light-headed or faint.
- Chest pain or discomfort.
- Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulders.
- Shortness of breath.
Women may experience additional or different heart attack symptoms, such as: heartburn or abdominal pain, clammy skin, light-headedness or dizziness and unusual or unexplainable fatigue.
Not everyone who has a heart attack will experience the same symptoms, and in some cases, people experience a heart attack without displaying any symptoms at all. A good philosophy to follow is that the more symptoms a person has, the greater the likelihood they are experiencing a heart attack.
What to do if someone is experiencing a heart attack –
The most immediate response to make if someone is having heart attack is to call 9-1-1. Don’t hesitate. The quicker a person receives treatment, the better the chances of survival.
How to help prevent a heart attack –
There are a few simple steps that can decrease the risk of heart attack.
The most common method is to life a healthy lifestyle. This includes eating a healthy diet, maintaining a healthy weight, exercising regularly, not smoking and limiting alcohol use.
On the medical side, it’s important to treat any condition that may lead to heart disease, such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure or diabetes. There are medications that can help with these issues.