Heart attack is caused by a narrowing of the coronary arteries that supply blood to the heart.
Half of people die within one hour from the time when they feel the first symptoms and before they reach the hospital.
Fortunately, each of us can take steps to protect the heart and life and the lives of others.
Quick reaction to the first signs of a heart attack is the key to saving lives and limiting damage that heart attacks can cause.
What are the symptoms of heart attack?
Many people believe that a heart attack is sudden and intense, as is often depicted in the film when a person suddenly grabbed the heart and falls to the floor.
The truth is somewhat different. Heart attacks usually start slowly as mild pain or just an uneasy feeling and the person is not quite sure what is wrong.
It can even happen that the symptoms go away by themselves. Even people who have already suffered a heart attack, sometimes cannot recognize the symptoms as in the next attack they can totally vary.
Women tend to think that they are not in danger of a heart attack, but they’re wrong. That’s why they need to learn to recognize the early warning signs of danger:
- Feeling chest discomfort – Most heart attacks are followed by a feeling of discomfort in the middle of the chest. This discomfort lasts for several minutes, it is weak and disappears, but it returns.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body – This can be a pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. According to Dr. Suzanne Steinbaum, the discomfort is most likely to feel in the left arm. Irregular pain in the lower or upper back can indicate stress to the heart muscle, Steinbaum says.
- Shortness of breath – chest discomfort is often accompanied by an inability to breathe. However, it often happens even before you experience chest discomfort. According to Steinbaum, director of The Heart and Vascular Institute at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, women often struggle to breathe a few weeks before experiencing a heart attack. “If you are used to doing a certain amount of activity and then, all of a sudden, you can’t get enough air, that is when I get concerned,” says Steinbaum.
- Other symptoms – a sudden cold sweat, nausea or dizziness. “Sometimes the heart isn’t able to give a good signal and, instead, the pain can radiate to the neck, jaw and back,” Steinbaum says. Flu-like symptoms are often reported weeks and days before a heart attack. You should learn all these symptoms, but also keep in mind that if you are not sure that it was a heart attack, however, you must consult your doctor and check.
- Who are at risk? Heart attacks affect both men and women. However, some people are more likely to get a heart attack because of their “risk factors.” Some of the risk factors associated with heart attack are beyond our control, but the most can be influenced and you can reduce the risk of a first or repeated heart attack.
- Factors that you cannot control – The existence of earlier coronary heart problems, including heart attack, angioplasty, bypass or angina pectoris. Age is an important factor, since it was found that the risk increases for men olden than 45, and in women after their 55th year of age. Heart diseases in the family increase the likelihood that you can suffer from these illness. Let’s say, if your brother or father was diagnosed with a heart disease before 55, or your sister or mother before 65, your chance of having heart problems is greatly increased.
- Factors that you can control – Smoking, high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, overweight and obesity, physical inactivity, diabetes. Risk factors do not increase the likelihood of a heart attack in a simple way; Each of these factors further increases the influence of other factors. It is therefore important to prevent or control those risk factors that you can influence, especially if you have already experienced a heart attack.
According to Dr. Oz, it’s important to recognize that you shouldn’t run to the doctor every time you have indigestion. These symptoms are seen in the context of someone who’s likely to be at risk of heart disease. Smoking, not getting enough exercise, having high blood pressure or diabetes and being overweight can all increase a person’s risk for heart disease. Pain that feels like indigestion in a person who’s completely healthy is likely indigestion. But new indigestion pain in someone who has a lot of risk factors for heart disease could be a heart attack.
The key is to see your doctor if you think something is wrong. Since your symptoms might not be typical, it will take further testing at the doctor’s office to determine what exactly is going on, Dr. Oz says.