As a Cardiologist, much of my time is spent caring for my patients who are experiencing heart problems. I do everything I can to find the optimal course of treatment and help my patients achieve the best possible outcomes.
However, I’d much rather educate as many people as possible to the risks of the heart attack so they can be aware and understand how to help themselves. Early detection and treatment save lives. With that in mind, familiarize yourself with the ten major Signs of a Heart Attack. Many people have decided not to pay attention to one or more of these signs and many have died or caused much more serious damage to their heart because they ignored them.
Be proactive by eating healthy, getting exercise, and plenty of rest. That is all helpful. However, even people that do all those things can have a heart attack. There may be things going on beneath the surface that go unnoticed. So, no matter what shape you are in know the signals that could alert you to a potential Heart Attack.
Any pain or pressure in the chest that goes on for longer than a minute is cause for concern. Especially if sitting down or resting doesn’t make it go away. Men are likely to experience a radiating pain to their left arm, while women may experience pain in either or both arms. This pain is directly related to the pain and distress in the chest. You can however, have one without the other. You may experience it more like heavy pressure. Some people say it’s like having an elephant sitting on your chest.
2. Sweating or Nausea
If you begin sweating for no apparent reason and it starts soaking through your clothes, it could be a sign of trouble. In addition, if you notice your skin go pale at the same time, you should react and get help. We all sweat on hot days or if we exert ourselves, but that kind of sweating has an obvious cause and can be stopped by getting in a cooler place or sitting down and catching your breath. The type being described here is uncontrolled and not affected by change in activity or outside temperature.
Fatigue can come on suddenly and for no obvious reason. It can also be associated with chest or jaw pain. If you experience unexplained exhaustion contact your doctor. This fatigue won’t be associated with sleep deprivation or a mental health issue like depression, it will seemingly have no explanation. It can feel like extreme weakness in your whole body. You may feel like you have to sit down right away.
This isn’t a common symptom and most people are unaware that it can be connected to a heart attack. Indigestion with heart attack won’t come alone however, it usually be accompanied by pain, nausea and shortness of breath.
5. Frequent Cough
Frequent coughing fits combined with wheezing is a most common indicator of heart failure. You may also experience bloody phlegm when you cough. A cough that continues and causes you to feel weak or faint may be an indication of bigger problems.
6. Back Pain
Another less common symptom, seen mostly in women, is back pain. Radiated or referred pain from the chest causes the feelings to occur in the mid or lower back. Back pain can present with or without the more common chest pain and can even radiate to the legs. Back pain alone isn’t necessarily a sign of trouble. However, if it is accompanied by other symptoms listed here, it should be taken very seriously.
As the heart struggles and fails to deliver oxygen, the brain is affected. Without enough oxygen, you may feel dizzy and light headed or even faint. Your blood pressure will likely be affected. Heart attacks often start with dizziness and the feeling of being woozy. Lightheaded feelings and disorientation are often not associated with heart attack because people expect more dramatic symptoms.
8. Shortness of Breath
This is a sign that your heart needs some help. You should be calling for help if you have shortness of breath for any reason but it is also a sign of a heart attack. You may get short of breath after climbing stairs or doing some other physical activity. However, that stops after a short period of time. Ongoing shortness of breath is definitely a sign that something is wrong.
9. Irregular Heartbeat
It seems a little obvious, but an irregular heartbeat is a big sign of heart attack. You may experience slight episodes of irregularity prior to your heart attack. Irregular heartbeat is never a good thing. It typically points to a much more serious heart issue.
10. Racing Heart
If your heart needs to work overtime it will begin to race giving you a good indication that something may be wrong. Fast heart rate (more than 150 beats per minute), especially if accompanied by shortness of breath may be a sign of a Heart Attack.
Your heart is the engine that keeps your body running. Without blood being pumped throughout your body you would die—plain and simple. The circulatory system is an amazing system that brings nutrients to your cells, takes waste away, supplies oxygen to the brain and generally keeps everything functioning the way it was designed to function. You only have one heart and it is the key to your health and well-being. Know the signs that could warn you of trouble and pay attention to them. It could save your life.
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