- A feeling of fullness or a squeezing pain in the center of your chest that lasts for more than a few minutes
- Pain extending beyond your chest to your shoulder, arm, back, or even to your teeth and jaw
- Increasing episodes of chest pain
- Prolonged pain in the upper abdomen
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling of uneasiness or being disoriented
- Nausea and vomiting
Signs of heart attack in women may also include:
- Abdominal pain or heartburn
- Clammy skin
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue
It may be hard to realize that you may be having a heart attack as the signs and symptoms of a heart attack may vary. Not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms or experience them to the same degree. Some people have no symptoms at all. Still, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood that you may be having a heart attack.
A heart attack can occur anytime — at work or play, while you’re resting, or while you’re in motion. Some heart attacks strike suddenly, but many people who experience a heart attack have warning signs and symptoms hours, days or weeks in advance. The earliest warning of a heart attack may be recurrent chest pain (angina) that’s triggered by exertion and relieved by rest. Angina is caused by a temporary decrease in blood flow to the heart.
Many people confuse a heart attack with a condition in which your heart suddenly stops (sudden cardiac arrest). A heart attack is different from sudden cardiac arrest, which occurs when an electrical disturbance in your heart disrupts its pumping action and causes blood to stop flowing to the rest of your body.
When To Do If You Suspect That You Are Having A Heart Attack
During a heart attack, act immediately. Some people wait too long because they don’t recognize the important signs and symptoms. Take these steps:
- Call for emergency medical help. If you even suspect you’re having a heart attack, don’t hesitate. Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. If you don’t have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital. Drive yourself only as a last resort, if there are absolutely no other options. Driving yourself puts you and others at risk if your condition suddenly worsens.
- Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed. If your doctor has prescribed nitroglycerin, take as instructed while awaiting the arrival of emergency medical personnel.
- Take aspirin, if recommended. If you’re concerned about your heart attack risk, ask your doctor if chewing an aspirin tablet if you have heart attack symptoms is a good idea. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce the damage to your heart by making your blood less likely to clot. Aspirin can interact with other medications, however, so don’t take an aspirin unless your doctor or emergency medical personnel recommend it.
What To Do If You See Someone Having A Heart Attack
If you encounter someone who is unconscious from a presumed heart attack, call for emergency medical help. If you have received training in emergency procedures, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR). This helps deliver oxygen to the body and brain.
Press down about 2 inches (about 5 centimeters) on the person’s chest for each compression at a rate of about 100 a minute. If you’ve been trained in CPR, check the person’s airway and deliver rescue breaths after every 30 compressions. If you haven’t been trained, continue doing compressions only.
In the initial minutes, a heart attack can also trigger ventricular fibrillation, a condition in which the heart quivers uselessly. Without immediate treatment, ventricular fibrillation leads to sudden death. The timely use of an automatic external defibrillator (AED) that shocks the heart back into a normal rhythm can provide emergency treatment before a person having a heart attack reaches the hospital.
Why Marriage May Save A Man From Dying From A Heart Attack
A study has found that married men experiencing chst pain went to the hospital half an hour earlier than single men. Heart attack statistics show that a delay in medical care during a heart attack could lead to significant damage. Overall, researchers have found that marriage was protective for men. Married men do not die as young from cardiovascular disease because they go to the emergency room earlier than their single, divorced or widowed counterparts.
Another study in Britain in 2001 said men living alone after the age of 45 are up to 50 percent more likely to die prematurely. They are more susceptible to long-term illnesses, aggravated by unhealthy eating and poor lifestyles.
Scientists did not find a benefit for married women or those with live-in partners. Researchers conclude that married men benefit because traditionally women have assumed the role of caregivers and they are likely to urge their spouses to seek prompt attention when a medical problem arises.