The challenge to identify heart attack symptoms lies in the fact that each person may experience different symptoms with different intensity, and yet arrive at a point which may prove to be fatal in the absence of medical assistance. This article is a source to help you identify these symptoms before it is too late.
Call 911 immediately. Heart attack is the cause behind the maximum number of deaths in the
United States. And, the symptoms are not always like those shown in movies and television. In fact, a lot of people do not experience the one symptom that for most of us, is the epitome of a heart attack - chest pain.
Our heart needs an adequate amount of oxygen to function properly, and this oxygen is supplied through the blood that travels through the coronary arteries to the heart muscle. Due to factors like being overweight , high cholesterol, diabetes , etc., a substance called plaque -- which may include deposits of fat or cholesterol -- gets accumulated within the walls of the coronary arteries. This results in thickening of the arteries, and as the deposits thicken, the passage narrows down. Later on, there are chances that the plaque deposit may rupture, resulting into the formation of a blood clot. If this happens, the blood flow is reduced and the tissue of the heart muscle where the blood is unable to reach, may begin to die. Also, there are chances that the blood clot may completely prevent the heart from receiving the oxygen-enriched blood. This is the reason why a heart attack occurs.
Symptoms Indicating a Heart Attack
According to the American Heart Association, most men after the age of 45, are under a high risk of experiencing a heart attack. Women, however, are more likely to be considered under the risk zone after the age of 50 -- mostly after menopause. Nonetheless, heart attack can occur even at a young age. Medical experts suggest that you should not delay seeking medical assistance at any cost, at least not more than 5 minutes. Delay will only reduce the chances of your survival as each minute passes by.
Discomfort or Pain in the Chest
No, I am not contradicting myself when I said previously that most people do not experience chest "pain" during a heart attack. In fact, it has been observed that in most cases, a heart attack begins with a mild discomfort, which may come, last for a few minutes, and then go away. The uneasiness is mostly experienced in the center of the chest, and most people tend to neglect it, assuming the cause to be indigestion or anxiety. On the other hand, in some people, this discomfort is also accompanied by a squeezing sensation, fullness, pressure, and pain in the chest, which may be mild or severe in nature.
Pain in the Upper Body
Experiencing pain in areas such as the neck, jaw, back, teeth, or arms seems to be a common phenomena.
How easily do we shun these symptoms and make them a part of our daily life. But did you know that these are one of the most common symptoms associated with a heart attack? It is sometimes observed that there is no pain in the chest, but a nagging pain in these areas of the body.
Pain in the Stomach
Another common pain that we all experience is that of the stomach. However, most of us do not consider it to be of severe importance -- at least not to a point where we would want to seek medical assistance immediately! During a heart attack, the pressure that is developing in the chest is passed down to the upper abdomen, causing abdominal pain. It may also be accompanied by heartburn. Most people tend to confuse this sign with indigestion or acidity .
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