Some heart attacks are intense. While some come suddenly, most of them start with pain in the jaw or back, discomfort in the chest, shortness of breath, vomiting or nausea. With pain in a mild form people are not able to identify that it is a heart attack and waste a lot of time before seeking help. It is important to call the doctor and the ambulance which is well equipped with advanced systems of life support.
What Is a Heart Attack?
A heart attack is one of the biggest emergencies related to life and death. The same is applicable for a stroke in which every passing second is counted. A heart attack is also termed as MI or Myocardial Infarction for which treatment is immediately essential. Irregular heartbeats are caused in heart attacks termed as arrhythmias.
If help is sought at the right time, especially in the first hour, termed also as the golden hour, then the recovery chances are better. There is no need of feeling embarrassed to visit the doctor when symptoms of the heart attack are faced. Medical tests of sophisticated nature are required to determine whether it is a heart attack.
The intensity of a heart attack can vary from one individual to another. For women pain is experienced between the blades of the shoulder at times instead of a crushing pain in the chest. It is a mistake if you delay going to the doctor. If at any given point of time you experience an unusual pain in the chest area it could be a sign of heart attack. Hence you should not take chances.
What Causes a Heart Attack?
For a heart attack, a common precursor is Angina or the Angina Pectoris. The heart tends to beat faster on eating a heavy meal, in cold climatic conditions, emotionally charges situations, stressful situations or exerting the body physically. Heart beats are maintained when a flow of oxygenated blood is supplied to the muscles of the heart. In certain individuals, narrowing of the channels takes place obstructing the oxygen and blood flow. Tissues of the heart muscle do not get sufficient nutrients leading to deficiency in oxygen supply. This leads to angina pectoris, a distinct pain in the heart.
The person could experience a kind of suffocation, strangulation and heavy breathing just as it is experienced in indigestion or esophagus spasms. The pain is experienced on the left side of the chest or below the breastbone area. In other cases, the pain could start in the throat, arm, neck, left shoulder, the jaw or the neck. When the attack of angina lasts for a longer time it could prelude to an attack of the heart. As compared to angina the symptoms of heart attack last longer and severely.
You need to be aware that many people especially the old men who have suffered angina pectoris have faced deaths suddenly. A third of the patient suffers from a heart attack as indicated by statistics. Each year, there are thousands of angina cases occurring all over the globe. According to a few doctors, angina pain is considered as gift from God because this pain is an indication of a forth coming heart attack. At time there are no symptoms. The problems of the heart are silent and an issue related to the heart attack could get unnoticed. An angina indicates if something can go wrong with the heart and prompt medical treatment needs to be sought.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack to lookout for:
One of the earliest symptoms of the heart attack is weakness and dizziness. It must be noted that every pain in the chest cannot be related to a heart attack. It is mostly in the early mornings between 4.00 am to 10 am that the heart attacks occur in individuals, most commonly. Adrenal glands release a large amount of adrenaline during those early hours. When adrenaline increases in the bloodstream the plaque can get ruptured which leads to blood clot and the heart attack occurs eventually. It must also be noted that exertional angina are associated with exercises, however heart attacks generally do not occur during exercise. Some of the attacks come in silently and are termed as silent heart attacks of higher intensity.
Different Kinds of Symptoms for Different Conditions
A silent heart attack comes without giving any warning. The symptoms are of the typical type like nausea, light headedness suddenly, heartburning sensation and excessive sweating. This is common in people above sixty five years of age, women and people having diabetes. At times without having a silent heart attack or a silent MI a person can have a heart attack. Mostly at the time a routine examination is conducted by the doctor, diagnosis of a silent MI may be done.
Heart attack early signs include pressure in the chest and the upper areas of the body that is uncomfortable to bear. This pain goes and can come back again giving chest discomfort, including a sense of fullness, squeezing in the chest and pain. A feeling that you are getting ill or general malaise is also a symptom of a heart attack.
Delay in treating a heart attack can lead to serious results including death. A sudden weakness or numbness could occur suddenly at times in the face. The person faces trouble in understanding or speaking, facing vision problem, difficulty in walking, dizziness, losing balance while walking, lack of coordination and severe headache. The person stops responding suddenly even on tapping the shoulder and the person does not breathe normally.
A mini stroke also termed as warning stroke or a Transient Ischemic Attack or TIA also produces symptoms that are like a stroke. It is best to treat a mini stroke in an effort to reduce a major stroke risk. Symptoms can be of temporary nature. The main difference between the stroke and a TIA is that the symptom duration of mini stroke is shorter. It does not cause permanent injury to the brain.
What to Do When Experiencing the Symptoms of a Heart attack?
An important thing to keep in mind is the time of the first symptoms, for your reference as well as the doctor’s reference. When you start experiencing the symptom, medical help should be immediately called in. A glass of water and an aspirin tablet can be taken. However it is very important that the patient involved does not have any allergy to aspirin. Blood gets thinned out with aspirin intake. If fact aspirin ensures that your heart receives more quantity of blood.
If the angina or the heart attack episode is scary and intense, rest and maintain calmness. With the placement of nitroglycerin under the tongue, the attack can be reduced within approximately fifteen minutes. Nitroglycerin is also available in spray form which can be sprayed under the tongue after which you need to wait for five minutes. Emergency help is needed if even after five minutes the angina persists. If in case the symptom last for a longer time, then the person needs to visit a certified doctor or hospital, to get a thorough check up done.
TPA or Tissue Plasminogen Activator is a drug approved by FDA which can be administered for busting clots within three hours of start of symptoms. For strokes of the common types the drug helps in reducing disability for a longer term.
Lots of treatments and medications are available to patients these days which include drugs for busting clots, preventing a stroke or heart attack in progress. If the drugs are administered quickly the life of the patient can be saved. The symptoms of the stroke or attack can reappear so it is necessary to be cautious at all times.
Signs You Should Never Ignore
If heart attack signs are first seen, emergency treatment should be called for. It can be risky, trying to wait for the symptoms to vanish or go away. Heart damage can be prevented if the symptoms are recognized early and immediate treatment is started. Evaluation of symptoms is most essential. If the heart gets injured to large extents, then expecting a full recovery is difficult. Most people lose life because they had waited too long in seeking help. In case a person gets a cardiac arrest, it is an emergency and CPR should immediately be started.
As compared to men, the kind of symptoms women experience is different. Women tend to face unusual fatigue for days, disturbances in sleep, pain in the jaw area and arm, light headedness, anxiety, tingling and fullness sensation. If these symptoms are experienced a physical examination is to be done and if the symptoms keep persisting a second opinion is also advisable. Older people, women, diabetic people and those having high blood pressure needs to be careful. Young people, those who take own treatment, those who take the symptoms lightly, those who delay the treatment etc. also should be careful. To increase the chances of survival it is pointless ignoring the symptoms. Instead seek immediate diagnosis and treatment from a certified doctor.