Not all heart attacks look like what we see on television or in the movies. Knowing the heart attack warning signs and acting appropriately can help to save someone’s life…even your own!
1. Pressure or pain in the chest
This crushing sensation may be accompanied by nausea, vomiting or sweating. A sensation that feels like heartburn may be something much more serious.
2. Chest pain that radiates to other parts of the upper body
Pain from a heart attack can start in the chest region but move outward. The “classic” sign of a heart attack you have heard of may chest pain the moves into the left arm, but the pain may also move up into the left shoulder or the jaw region.
3. Tightness in the chest area
Less intense than a crushing pain, feeling constricted in your torso region may be a sign of trouble.
4. Shortness of breath
Being unable to catch your breath for more than a few seconds can be a warning sign of a heart attack.
If You Suspect a Heart Attack
Don’t try to diagnose the symptoms yourself. Any of the signs on the list above may be signs that a heart attack is in progress.
Rather than waiting to see if they resolve on their own, seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Call 9-1-1 or your local Emergency number to get assistance from trained medical personnel.
If the patient can be taken to a hospital more quickly by having someone drive them there, then do so. While on the way or waiting for emergency personnel to arrive, help to keep the patient comfortable.
Encourage them to stay calm, since becoming agitated will only increase blood pressure and put more strain on the heart. Reassure the person that help is on the way and that they will be looked after. Remind them to try to slow down their breathing and relax as much as they can, given the circumstances.
If an examination at the hospital reveals a different cause for the warning signs of heart attack, then that’s good news. Don’t hesitate to go for treatment in case it turns out that the suspected heart attack is something altogether different. Prompt treatment for a heart attack can minimize damage to the muscle and may even save a life.