The bad news is that someone in America has a heart attack every 34 seconds. The good news is that these days a heart attack does not have to be fatal.
The factor that often makes the difference between surviving a heart attack and dying from one is how quickly the victims or the people with them realize that they are, in fact, having a heart attack, and get them to the hospital. With this in mind, this article by a Palm Beach heart doctor deals with some of the most common symptoms of a heart attack, so that you know what they are, and can respond promptly.
In many – but not all – cases, there will be pain or discomfort in the chest
This symptom is pretty clear-cut and unequivocal – if you or someone you are with complains of pain or discomfort in the chest that last for more than a few seconds, call 911 or your local emergency response number. “Chest pain” associated with heart attack need not be the “crushing weight on my chest” you see in movies, and can be more of an uncomfortable pressure, a “squeezing” feeling, or even “fullness” similar to extreme indigestion. Whatever the type of pain, fast action can save lives, so it is better to play it safe and assume it may be a heart attack than to wait. This said, chest pain is not necessarily as present in women as it is in men. Many women experience other symptoms before experiencing chest pains, or don’t experience chest pains at all. This can lead them to assume that they are not having a heart attack, when in fact they are.
Other important symptoms of heart attack
• Upper body pain that lasts more than a few seconds in one or both arms, the neck, back, jaw, or stomach can also be an indicator of heart attack.
• Shortness of breath, especially if it accompanies chest pain or discomfort. Cold sweat, nausea, and lightheadedness can also be heart attack signs.
What should you do if you experience or witness these symptoms?
Call for help immediately. Dial 911, and if you are experiencing these symptoms yourself, wait for an ambulance to get you to the hospital rather than try to drive yourself. This is smarter not only because if the attack gets worse you might pass out while driving, but because EMS crews are trained to be able to start treatment immediately, even before you arrive at the hospital.
If you experience these symptoms for more than a few seconds, ignore your own tendency to think that they are “not serious” and call for help right away, just to be sure. If someone you are with experiences these symptoms and claims that they aren’t serious, call anyway, especially if the victim is female. Women are more likely to believe that heart attack symptoms are the result of flu or acid reflux and ignore them, rather than seeking help that could save their lives.
How to avoid having a heart attack in the first place
The most important step you can take to avoid heart attack is to get regular checkups from your Palm Beach or Delray Beach cardiologist. If you haven’t had a heart checkup in some time, call some of the best cardiologists in Palm Beach today at 561-515-0080 to schedule an appointment. During this checkup – and as part of our quality continuing care – our doctors can recommend diet, exercise, and lifestyle tips that can help to keep you healthy.
Cardiologo hispano Boynton Beach
For those of you whose first language is Spanish, remember that we speak it, too. So give us a call at 561-515-0080 and we’ll give you the best heart care possible, and in the language you are most comfortable with.