A heart attack is a serious medical emergency that occurs when blood is blocked from reaching the heart. Without needed blood flow, the heart cannot receive the oxygen it needs, and it will start to fail.
There are a few warning signs that may occur before a heart attack. These signs should not be ignored as they could be life-threatening.
Men and women sometimes experience heart attack symptoms differently. Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms such as lightheadedness, nausea, shortness of breath, and upper body pains. For this reason, women are more likely to dismiss symptoms as something else, like the flu. Women experience more fatal heart attacks than men because they often wait too long to get help. However, overall men are much more likely to experience a heart attack than women,
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
1. Chest Pains
Chest pain is the most common sign of a heart attack. It usually starts a discomfort in the center of the chest that will last more than a few minutes. It may be consistent or come and go. The discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, or severe pain.
2. Lightheadedness and Nausea
Heart attack victims may also feel some dizziness and lightheadedness. They may also experience some nausea, heartburn, and vomiting. Stomach pain often accompanies heart attacks. You may also notice cold sweats and other feverish symptoms.
3. Upper Body Pain
Experiencing discomfort in the upper body is also very common in heart attacks. It may be a pain in one or both arms, the neck or back, or jaw.
4. Shortness of Breath
Shortness of breath is common in the event of a heart attack. You may experience trouble breathing or catching your breath. This sign may or may occur with chest pains.
5. Unexplained Excessive Fatigue
An unexampled drop in energy is another sign that something is up. Without your needed blood flow, fatigue can set in.
What to Do
If are you noticing any of these warning signs of a heart attack in yourself or someone else, do not hesitate to call 911 immediately. When warning signs start, acting fast can save lives. Even if you are unsure it’s a heart attack, better safe than sorry. Emergency medical services will soon be on their way to you when you call 911.
Preventing Heart Attacks
Heart attacks cannot always be prevented, but there are things you can do to promote heart health. Certain lifestyle changes can make a big difference. Living an active lifestyle will keep your heart healthy longer. Eating healthier will make a big difference too—try to incorporate more veggies and lean proteins into your daily diet. Controlling stress levels and practicing breathing exercises will also help your heart.
Avoiding excessive alcohol consumption is also recommended. And of course, avoid smoking.
Maintain overall health and avoiding other issues such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes will greatly limit your risk for a heart attack.