Spotting a Heart Attack Before It Becomes a Heart Attack

HEART ATTACK BLOG POST 11.30.17By Priscilla Christopher

Every 40 seconds, someone has a heart attack, according to the American Heart Associations’ (AHA) 2017 Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics Report. Its symptoms and warning signs vary based on several factors: age, family, personal health history, gender and lifestyle. Many people ignore warning signs long before the attack occurs.

A heart attack typically occurs when a section of the heart is unable to receive oxygen-rich blood.  If a heart attack goes without immediate treatment, the heart can lose its ability to pump effectively. Possible outcome? Heart failure or death.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms and warning signs early and seek medical help right away.

How do you spot a heart attack? What signals should you watch for?

The AHA’s most common heart attack symptoms include:

  • Chest Discomfort. If you experience a squeezing chest pain or an extending chest pain to other areas of your body, get help.
  • Upper Body Discomfort. You can experience upper body discomfort, such as arm, back, jaw, or shoulder pain, during an impending heart attack. Report upper body discomfort to your doctor or emergency room physician immediately.
  • Shortness of Breath. A worsening shortness of breath, without activity, can be a heart attack symptom. You should inform your physician and get an evaluation, with or without chest pain.
  • Cold Sweats. Sweating, without reason, can signal a potential heart attack. When combined with chest and upper body discomfort, consider medical treatment, without delay.
  • Nausea. You might not know it, but nausea (and other stomach pain) can be a symptom of a heart attack. If you experience sudden changes in indigestion, tell your doctor. Many conditions cause nausea, and you want to rule out heart attack.
  • Lightheadedness, combined with any of the above symptoms, is cause for concern. When it affects your ability to get through your day, it might be signaling a heart problem.

To schedule an appointment with a First Coast Cardiovascular Institute cardiologist, call us at 904.493.3333.

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