If you can recognize the symptoms of a heart attack, you could save someone's life. Although heart attacks can be fatal, the good news is that immediate medical treatment saves the lives of many heart attack victims.
What exactly happens during a heart attack?
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is severely reduced or blocked entirely, cutting off the heart’s oxygen supply. This interferes with the heart’s ability to do its job, making it very hard or impossible to pump the blood where it needs to go.
If someone is having a heart attack — whether it’s you or someone you’re with — the best chance of saving the person’s life is to get them immediate medical attention.
According to the American Heart Association, here’s what you should pay attention to.
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 or difficulty breathing. Shortness of breath may occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other symptoms. These include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, lightheadedness and back or jaw pain.
Heart attack symptoms can vary between men and women. While chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women, women are more likely to experience some of the other symptoms, such as shortness of breath, nausea and back or jaw pain.
If you experience these symptoms, call an ambulance. Don’t waste time driving yourself to the emergency room.