The most common warning sign for men and women is chest pain or discomfort. You do not need to have all the warning signs to have a heart attack. This may not be sudden or very painful.
Many people think that heart attacks are a “man’s problem,” yet heart disease is actually the number one killer of both men and women in the United States. In men, the risk for heart attack increases significantly after the age of 45. In women, heart attacks are more likely to occur in the years after menopause (usually, after the age of 50). However, younger men and women can also have heart attacks.
A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart is reduced such as when arteries to the heart are narrowed or blocked by fat and cholesterol buildup. This prevents the heart from getting the blood and oxygen it needs. Without oxygen, the cells in the heart begin to die. The more time that passes without treatment, the greater the damage to the heart.
You may have one or more of the following warning signs of a heart attack:
● Chest Discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or fullness.
● Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include discomfort in one or both arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
● Shortness of breath. This symptom often accompanies chest discomfort. However, it can also occur before the chest discomfort.
● Other signs. These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or light-headedness. Some patients report a sense of impending doom.
How to Stop it:
Clot-busting medicines and other treatments can stop a heart attack as it is happening. These treatments work best if given within 1 hour of when heart attack signs begin.
•Talk with family and friends about the warning signs and the need to call 9–1–1 right away.
Act Fast. Call 9–1–1!
If you have any heart attack warning signs, call 9–1–1 in 5 minutes or less even if you are not sure you are having a heart attack. It can save your life!
• Do not drive yourself to the hospital
• Get immediate treatment