Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack?

January 31, 2020

Do you know the symptoms of a heart attack?

When a heart attack strikes, minutes matter. Those first few minutes following a heart attack are critical in determining the short-term and long-term outcome for the patient. According to the National Institutes of Health, about half of those who die from heart attacks will die within an hour of their first symptom. Being able to quickly recognize what’s happening and act can help ensure that the person gets proper medical treatment as soon as possible.

If you or someone around you is experiencing any of the following symptoms, call 911 immediately to receive help and treatment as quickly as possible.

Heart Attack Symptoms

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. 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, with or without chest discomfort.
  • Indigestion. According to research by the National Institutes of Health, this can be especially true for women. Stay alert for indigestion that is combined with jaw, chest or back pain, anxiety, or excessive sweating.
  • Fatigue. Everyone feels fatigue from time to time, but if the fatigue doesn’t “feel right,” it could be a warning sign of heart trouble. Often, the fatigue doesn’t feel like anything you may have experienced before.
  • Other signs, including breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness or general weakness

Stroke Symptoms

  • Face drooping. If you notice one side of your or someone else’s face drooping, or if it is numb, this is a telltale sign of a stroke. If you are uncertain, ask the person to smile.
  • Arm weakness. Many stroke victims experience weakness or numbness in one arm.
  • Speech difficulty. Speech may be slurred, prohibited or difficult to understand. If someone you are with is experiencing this, ask him or her to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” If he or she cannot, call 911 immediately.

Cardiac Arrest Symptoms

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness. If the person does not respond when tapped on the shoulder, they are likely experiencing cardiac arrest.
  • No normal breathing. The victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

Men and women can have different symptoms

As the number one killer of men and women in the U.S., you might think that gender doesn’t matter when it comes to heart disease. But women sometimes experience heart attack symptoms differently from men.

As with men, the most common symptom for women is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely to experience some of the other common – and more subtle – symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, unusual fatigue, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain, sometimes without any obvious chest discomfort.

Want to get the clearest picture of your heart health – before anything serious happens? Schedule a safe, painless cardiac calcium scoring test that can detect potential heart problems in advance. Do it this month and you’ll also receive a free box of chocolates.  Learn more here.