What is a heart attack?
A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage in the heart’s arteries which reduces or cuts off the blood supply to the heart. The technical term for a heart attack is a myocardial infarction. As with most things, time is of the essence and the quicker you seek medical attention to deal with your heart attack, the better the outcome. The problem with lots of people is that they ignore the common symptoms associated with heart attacks which inevitably results in more serious heart damage.
What are the common heart attack symptoms?
According to the American Heart Association, the common heart attack symptoms include the following :
- feeling of impending doom
- chest pain lasting for more than a few minutes
- lightheadness, feelings of wanting to faint, shortness of breath
- anxiety, cold sweats
- increased or irregular heart rate
The problem with these heart attack symptoms is that not all of them will appear at the same time. Some people get chest pain associated with heart burn (a completely different medical condition altogether) and mistake it to be a heart attack symptom. Most medical experts would suggest that if you experience any of the above heart attack symptoms that you call emergency services right away. It’s better to get it wrong and have it checked out than to ignore it and suffer the consequences that it is really a heart attack.
When is chest pain really associated with heart attacks?
If your chest pain is a sharp jabbing pain, it’s rarely a symptom of angina (which is the technical term for heart muscle pain). What most heart attack victims describe as a heart attack symptom is a tightness in the chest, a dull ache with accompanying shortness of breath which tends to alleviate itself when you stop exerting yourself. And that’s where the problem arises, a lot of people would just brush the incident aside and not think much about it because it’s not a chest pain that is particularly severe and debilitating and therefore picking that phone up to dial emergency services seems to be making a mountain out of a molehill. You only have a window of a couple of hours to get treatment for the heart attack within which if the blockage is cleared that your heart will not suffer permanent damage. After that, that particular part of the heart muscle which is deprived of blood supply usually dies.
If you experience tightness in your chest with or without shortness of breath, pick up that phone and dial emergency services. The stakes are too high to ignore it.