Posted on February 23, 2021
Heart disease and heart attacks are the leading cause of death for both men and women in the US. Each year, about 735,000 Americans suffer a heart attack, and in 75% of cases there were symptoms and warning signs prior to the attack. A heart attack is damage to the heart muscle that occurs due to reduced blood flow to the heart muscle, depriving the heart muscle of the oxygen it needs to function properly. A heart attack, if severe, can lead to cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating, and death is imminent.
The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from one individual to another, in both severity and onset. Some common heart attack symptoms include:
- Chest discomfort: can feel uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Physical discomfort: lightheadedness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, or cold sweat.
- Jaw, neck, or back pain.
- Discomfort or pain in arm or shoulder.
- Shortness of breath. (This can occur with or without chest discomfort) 40% of victims describe noticing it becoming a little harder to catch their breath even weeks before an attack.
Pay attention to your heart’s warning signs.
- Some symptoms come on slowly and others quickly. 70% of patients that suffer a heart attack say they feel unexplained extreme fatigue in the weeks before.
- Women or individuals with diabetes are more likely to have non-chest discomfort symptoms, such as nausea, shortness of breath, fatigue, and back or jaw pain..
- Not all symptoms may be present. Look for symptoms that occur together, rather than looking for any one symptom in a vacuum. Some people have no symptoms prior to a heart attack. The more signs and symptoms a person has, the greater the likelihood that they are having a heart attack
Take care of your heart:
- Don’t smoke
- Maintain a healthy weight
- Stay active
- Manage your cholesterol, blood pressure, and blood sugar.
- Reduce stress
Not sure if it’s a heart attack? Heart attacks can be mistaken regularly for other conditions, such as indigestion, chest pain, muscle pain and more. Seek medical attention immediately if any warning signs, especially if they start all of a sudden and for no apparent reason. Minutes matter! Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment as it can start as soon as the emergency team arrives. Fast action can save lives.