Did you know that as you read these lines, after every 40 seconds, someone in The US is experiencing a heart attack? Yes, that’s true! This sums up to almost 800,000 heart attack episodes each year! The reality of an episode is quite different from what we see on TV; not all heart attacks are dramatic, with chest-clutching and a sudden thump to the floor. Sometimes, the warning signals are subtle and you need to be vigilant. So, if you are wondering if the human body shows pre-heart attack signs? Yes, they do!
Interpreting Early Heart Attack Symptoms
A heart attack is medically known as myocardial infarction. It is an episode that occurs when a block is in one of the heart’s blood vessels that restricts the blood flow. When it cannot reach the heart, muscles begin to die and in such a situation, prompt care is pivotal for survival. While some heart attacks are sudden and unmistakable, others develop more gradually, making the signs less obvious.
Some of the common markers include:
1. A Feeling of Fullness
This sign is often mistaken for indigestion. The sensation of fullness in the chest can be a precursor to a heart attack.
2. Pain Shooting Down One or Both Arms
This classic symptom presents itself due to the heart’s nerve pathways. This signal should not be ignored at all costs.
3. Jaw Pain
More often than not, pain or discomfort in the jaw, along with uneasiness in the chest, indicates a heart issue.
4. Excessive Fatigue
Feeling more tired than usual, especially after minimal exertion, is a sign of a struggling heart.
This feeling of unexplained anxiety may be a subtle warning of a heart attack.
Constant nausea, without an apparent cause, is not normal and should be taken care of.
7. Back pain
Pain in the back, especially in the upper portion, is a pre-heart attack sign. So, if the condition does not get better even after taking measures, ask for help.
8. Shortness of Breath
You must be able to breathe with ease while at rest. If you are struggling to catch a breath, even without strenuous activity, it can indicate a problem with your heart.
9. Chest Discomfort
While it might not be the crushing pain it is shown in the movies, any discomfort in the chest should be taken seriously.
10. Aching or burning in the chest
These sensations are indicative of underlying issues with your heart and should not be ignored.
When to Seek Medical Assistance?
If you suspect a heart attack, do not panic and:
- Call for Emergency Help: Dial 911 immediately. If needed, ask someone to drive you to the nearest hospital.
- Take Prescribed Medication: If you are on a medication, such as prescribed nitroglycerin, take it as instructed while awaiting emergency help.
- Consider Aspirin: Taking aspirin during a heart attack has the tendency to reduce damage by preventing blood clotting. However, talk to a competent consultant before taking aspirin, as it can interact with other drugs.
- Check for Breathing and Pulse: If the person in front of you is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.
- Follow Hands-Only CPR: If you are not a trained professional, perform hands-on CPR by pushing hard and fast on the chest at a rate of 100 to 120 compressions per minute.
- CPR Training: If you are trained and have confidence, start with 30 chest compressions before giving two rescue breaths.
Understanding the signs of a heart attack and acting fast can make a significant difference in outcomes. Do not hesitate to contact Dr. M. Usman Khan, awarded with fellowship status by the American College of Cardiology (ACP) at Epic Heart and Vascular Center at 17070 Red Oak Dr # 405, Houston, TX 77090. Call Houston at (832) 432-1951 or Willowbrook at (832) 952-1951 for your troubles. We are here to help you for a long and healthy life.