What Causes a Heart Attack?
A majority of heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease. This means that a blood clot is blocking blood flow to the heart, leading to tissue losing oxygen and dying. A majority of heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease. This condition clogs coronary arteries with plaques.
Risk factors for a heart attack include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, and a sedentary lifestyle. In some cases, stress can also raise your risk of a heart attack. Men over the age of fifty with a family history of heart problems are most likely to suffer from a heart attack. Women’s risk for heart attacks greatly increase after menopause.
Symptoms and Signs
- Chest Pain: Chest pains are one of the most common signs of a heart attack. If you experience pain in the center of your chest, it could be a problem. This pain may go away and come back, it may feel like pressure, squeezing, or just sharp pain. No matter the case, don’t ignore these symptoms.
- Discomfort in the Upper Body: The is not the only area where you may feel discomfort. Pain may also manifest itself in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach. Abdominal pain can also occur.
- Shortness of Breath: Trouble breath and shortness of breath regardless of activity is another sign. This can occur with or without chest pain.
- Cold Sweat: Cold and clammy skin or cold sweating can be an indicator of a heart attack.
- Fatigue: Feeling sluggish and slow particularly for long periods could mean many things, including a potential heart problem.
- Lightheadedness: Feeling faint, lightheaded, or sudden dizziness is another side. Many people will lose consciousness before experiencing a heart attack.
- Nausea: Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or other pain in the abdomen can also mean trouble.
When to See a Doctor
Symptoms can be tough to spot as they may not always be consistent and could potentially mean other things. If there is suspicion of a heart attack, act immediately. Call 911. Do not drive yourself to the hospital, as your conditions may worsen while you’re driving, causing you to wreck. You can also take aspirin during a heart attack. Aspirin can reduce damage and keep your blood from clotting. If you are on other medications, aspirin can interact with that, so check with an emergency medical professional before taking it.
What to Do in the Event of a Heart Attack
If you are witnessing a heart attack, the first thing to do is call 911 immediately. Next, check if the person is breathing and has a pulse. If there is no breath or no pulse, begin CPR to keep blood flowing. CPR can save lives but should not be performed by someone who is not trained. If you are not trained, just do chest compressions until professionals arrive. Push down hard on the chest in a rapid rhythm, about a hundred compressions minute.