Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

 

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:

 

  • Chest discomfort.

Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Learn about the warning signs of heart attack in women.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

THINK YOU ARE HAVING A STROKE? 

F.A.S.T. is an easy way to remember the sudden signs of stroke. When you can spot the signs, you’ll know that you need to call 9-1-1 for help right away. F.A.S.T. is:

Face Drooping – Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile. Is the person’s smile uneven?

Arm Weakness – Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty – Is speech slurred? Is the person unable to speak or hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “The sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 9-1-1 – If someone shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get the person to the hospital immediately. Check the time so you’ll know when the first symptoms appeared.

 

Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning.

Here are the signs:

  • Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders).
  • No response to tapping on shoulders.
  • Does nothing when you ask if he’s OK.

If these signs of cardiac arrest are present:

Yell for help

Tell someone to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number and get an AED (if one is available).

If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call 9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available).

Check breathing:

If the person isn’t breathing or is only gasping, give CPR.

Push hard and push fast

Use an AED as soon as it arrives by turning it on and following the prompt.Keep pushing until the person starts to breathe or move or someone with more advanced training takes over.

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