When the blood flow to the heart slows, or is completely blocked off, a heart attack happens. Usually, the cause is a blockage. It can be a buildup of cholesterol, and fat in the arteries. These arteries supply blood flow to the heart, but once plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, a cardiac event follows.
Often times plaque will break up and make a clot, which then obstructs blood flow. Parts of the heart muscle are usually damaged or destroyed when blood flow is disrupted.
Although a Myocardial infarction (known as a heart attack) can be fatal, treatment has greatly improved over the years. If you think you’re experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, contact 911 or get emergency medical care right away.
Here are some of the symptoms that most commonly occur during a heart attack:
- In your chest or arms, you may feel pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or hurting sensation that may move to your neck, jaw, or back.
- Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain can also be signs that it’s time to call for help. Breathing problems.
- Breaking out in cold sweat.
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness.
The symptoms of a heart attack can be different from one person to another.
Not every single person who has a heart attack experiences the textbook symptoms we usually expect to see. Some people experience only slight pain, while others experience pain that is very severe. Some have no signs or symptoms at all leading up to a massive fatal heart attack. Unfortunately, abrupt cardiac arrest is sometimes the first symptom. However, the larger the number of signs and symptoms you are experiencing, the more likely it is that you are suffering from a heart condition that requires immediate medical care.
Although some heart attacks appear out of the blue to seemingly otherwise healthy people, many others have had warning signs and symptoms for weeks beforehand. Chest pain or pressure (also known as angina) that seems to start when you’re under physical or emotional stress but discontinues when resting in a relaxed state could be the first sign.
Angina is the pain/pressure in the chest that happens when blood flow to the heart is temporarily reduced.
Don’t Wait to See a Doctor
Now is the time to see a physician if you’ve had these symptoms. Some have wait too long and died as a result, when medical care could have prevented their death.
IF YOU ARE EXPERIENCING CHEST PAIN Follow these steps:
- Obtain immediate medical assistance by dialing 911. Don’t wait if you think you’re suffering a heart attack. Call the emergency responders at 911 right away. If you are able, ask a friend or family member to drive you to the nearest hospital if you don’t have the ability to get emergency medical care on your own.
- Drive yourself only as a last resort because being behind the wheel of a vehicle when you’re experiencing these types of symptoms can put you and other people at risk in the event that your condition worsens. If a medical professional has written you a prescription for nitroglycerin, take it now while you’re in the process of getting further medical care. Taking an aspirin during a heart attack has been suggested by some doctors to reduce cardiac damage by preventing blood clots from forming.
- Aspirin however, can interfere with other medications, so only take it if your doctor or emergency medical staff have advised you to. Call 911 right away if you need to take an aspirin. To begin, dial 911 for immediate assistance.
- Here are some suggestions for when you think someone else is having a heart attack:
- If you encounter someone who is unconscious and suspects they are suffering a heart attack, call 911 immediately. See whether or not you can tell if the person is breathing and has a pulse. Only start CPR if the person isn’t breathing or if there isn’t a pulse to be found.
- Push forcefully and fast on the person’s chest in a rapid rhythm of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
- Doctors advise just administering chest compressions if you haven’t been trained in CPR. If you’ve had CPR training, you can move on to opening the airway and performing rescue breathing. PART TWO: Are You at Risk of Having a Heart Attack?