How Can I Tell if I am Having a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is a frightening event, and you probably don’t want to think about it. But, if you learn symptoms of a heart attack and what steps to take, you can save a life–maybe your own.
Many people think a heart attack is sudden and intense, like a “movie” heart attack, where a person clutches his or her chest and falls over.
The truth is that many heart attacks start slowly, as a mild pain or discomfort. If you feel such a symptom, you may not be sure what’s wrong. Your symptoms may even come and go. Even those who have had a heart attack may not recognize their symptoms because the next attack can have entirely different ones.
Every minute counts, even if the symptoms seem to disappear! Know that not everyone gets all of these warning signs. And, sometimes these signs can go away and return.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack Include:
- Chest discomfort or uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest that lasts longer than a few minutes, or comes and goes
- Spreading pain to one or both arms, back, jaw, or stomach
- Shortness of breath. Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
- Cold sweats and nausea
Treatments are most effective if given within one hour of when the attack begins. If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack , call an ambulance right away!
The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the greater the likelihood that you will have severe, permanent damage to your heart or even die.The earlier the treatment, the more likely it is that damage to your heart will be kept to a minimum.
Remember, treatments are most effective if given within one hour of when the attack begins.
Once it is clear that a person is having a heart attack, immediate treatment usually includes drugs to help open the blocked artery, which restores blood flow to the heart muscle and prevents clots from forming again.
Diagnosis by a Health Professional
The longer you wait to get medical treatment, the greater the likelihood that you will have severe, permanent damage to your heart or even die.
In this section
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