4 Heart Attack Warning Signs

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.

Fish Oil Supplements Help Prevent a Second Heart Attack

If you have already been unfortunate enough to have suffered a heart attack, taking a fish oil supplement may help to prevent a recurrence. Taking one gram of Omega-3 fatty acids daily will lower your risk of a second heart attack by 45 percent.

This substance cuts fats in the blood and reduces the occurrence of blood clots. This form of therapy is recommended for people who have had a heart attack in the previous 90 days and who are not eating enough fish in their diet. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish, as well as English walnuts, canola, soybean, and flax seed oils.

Genetics and Heart Disease

Scientists have known for some time that the risk of developing early onset heart disease (under the age of 40) had a hereditary link, but did not which genetic marker was responsible for it. New research into the gene believed responsible for heart disease has now revealed that a variation of the protein neuropeptide Y (NPY) is the likely culprit. It’s probably no coincidence that this protein has been linked to the ability to control appetite.

When researchers conducted a study involving 1,000 families, they found that a link exists between people who carry this variation of the gene and people who have heart disease or a family history of the disorder.

Non-Smoking Bylaws Lead to Fewer Heart Attacks

More municipalities banning smoking in public places has been directly linked to lower heart attack rates. The results of a study published in the Morbidity and Mortality Week Report published by the Centers for Disease Control on January 2, 2009 confirmed this fact.

The goal of passing non-smoking legislation is to protect non-smokers from the negative health effects associated with second-hand smoke. Even inhaling a small amount puts the non-smoker at an increased risk of developing heart disease. Perhaps not being able to smoke in public places will encourage more smokers to give up the habit.

What is a Heart Attack?

The term "heart attack" is one that we are all familiar with, but do you know what it means? A heart attack occurs when blood cannot reach the heart due to a blockage. The human heart operates like the other organs, in that it cannot function properly blood flow is impeded. Most people who suffer a heart attack have a buildup of plaque, which is a fatty substance, in their arteries. A blood clot can break away and block off the already-narrow arteries leading to the heart, with sometimes fatal results for the victim. We plan to discuss heart attacks at greater length in a future blog post.