All Heart Attack Articles
According to the American Heart Association, heart attacks claim a victim approximately every 43 seconds. Because 80 percent of heart attacks occur in private, residential settings, it’s important to understand the signs and symptoms. Knowing the common signs of a heart attack can mean the difference between life and death because heart attacks require immediate medical attention.
If the symptoms aren’t the chest-crushing pain that you see in the movies, then many people dismiss them as temporary illnesses such as nausea or acid reflux and will try to “power through” the symptoms. This only leads to more heart damage, or even death.
The reason people may not know they are having a heart attack is because most heart attacks start out slowly with less common warning signs such as nausea or dizziness and the person doesn’t experience chest pain. They may feel weakness or fatigue, break into a cold sweat or become very pale and think it’s just a cold or flu coming on.
Here are some of the common signs that can mean a heart attack is happening, according to the American Heart Association:
Because these aren’t classic heart attack symptoms, women may not recognize just how serious their condition is until the symptoms become more severe. By then, more heart damage has occurred and they may have waited too long to seek medical assistance to survive the attack.
There are two important areas to consider when it comes to preventing a first — or subsequent — heart attack. The first one is knowing your family history. Heart disease can have a genetic component and can cluster in families. If close relatives have had heart disease, this may put you at a higher risk for developing problems. Being aware of your family’s heart history and sharing that information with your doctor will allow you to work together to prevent a heart attack.
While you can’t control your family history, you can control another risk factor for heart attacks, and that is your lifestyle choices.
For instance, if you smoke, stop. If you drink alcohol in excess, limit it. Maintain a healthy weight. Exercise. All of these factors are within your control.
Choosing a heart-healthy diet doesn’t mean you have to give up all of your favorite meals, but it does mean you should consider controlling your portion sizes, eliminating processed foods (which are often loaded with unhealthy “trans” fats) and replacing saturated fats in your diet with the healthy ones.
A heart-healthy diet should include:
In addition to food choices, there are some other lifestyle changes you can make to improve your heart health. They include:
If your symptoms last more than 10 minutes, seek immediate medical help. Your best bet is to call 9-1-1. Most ambulances are equipped with emergency cardiac equipment, and the responders are trained in lifesaving procedures, so they can start treating you as soon as they arrive. (Arriving at the hospital via ambulance and showing symptoms of chest pain typically means that you’ll get treated more quickly than if a family member or friend drives you to the ER. Never drive yourself to the hospital if you think you are having a heart attack.)
After you’ve called for help, if you have aspirin available, chew a tablet to begin dissolving the blood clot as you wait for help to arrive. (It’s important to remember to tell first responders and medical staff that you took an aspirin before they start working on you.)
The most important thing you can do is to be aware of these symptoms and react quickly because your life or that of your loved one depends on it.
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