Heart attack is one of the most dangerous health conditions because it happens unexpectedly and can be fatal if not attended immediately. The cause of heart attack is insufficient blood supply to the heart for a certain period of time. As a result, the heart muscle is partially destroyed. It is generally thought that heart attack is often triggered by great stress or strenuous physical activity. Indeed, if you have a heart disease, you shouldn’t strain yourself too much. But the truth is that a heart attack can occur during leisure activities such as shopping, relaxing on the sofa or even after waking from a sound sleep.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Did you know you can have a heart attack without feeling any pains in the chest? Symptoms of a heart failure and a heart disease are not the same, especially with women. Many factors can contribute to a heart attack. The most common factors are: heredity, age, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, alcohol, obesity, inadequate eating habits, poor physical activity and, last but not least, stress. Here are some of the main warning signs of a forthcoming heart attack:
- Excessive sweating, especially if physical exercise is not part of your everyday routine, should be a red light. When your arteries are clogged, it takes more effort forthe heart to pump blood through them. So the body starts to sweat harder to avoid hyperventilation, i.e. high temperature.
- Chest pain, though not necessarily accompanying every heart attack, is the surest sign that it’s happening. If you are experiencing tightness or pains in the chest, you’d better call for help immediately.
- Gastrointestinal problems. Indigestion or other stomach discomforts could be another sign of an imminent heart attack. Older people, who often have stomach disorders, tend to ignore these symptoms, which increases the risk for them. If you usually have an iron stomach, do pay attention to any indigestion problems that may occur and call you doctor immediately.
- Exhaustion and shortness of breath. If you experience these two symptoms, you should be on high alert, because they could be a sign of excessive stress to your heart. Fatigue and shortness of breath are the typical heart attack signs in women, so if they experience them, they should consult a doctor.
- Pain in other body parts. Heart attack can also show that it's forthcoming by causing pain in other parts of the body. Discomfort in the left arm is an almost sure sign of that condition. Heart attack ache can also occur in other parts of the body, including shoulder, back, upper abdomen, throat, teeth or jaw.
First Aid for Heart Attack
It’s very important that a heart attack is attended immediately. There are some first aid procedures that can save the patient’s life or avoid further complications. It’s useful for everyone to be able to perform them in case somebody around us suffers a heart attack.
What to Do If You Are Having a Heart Attack
- Call 911 or the local emergency medical service. If you experience heart attack symptoms, do not wait for more than five minutes. If you can’t call any medical service, ask a friend or a neighbor to drive you to the nearest hospital or medical center. If you don’t have other means of transport, you can drive to the emergency center yourself, but do that as a very last resort and be extremely careful on the way.
- Try some aspirins.Taking aspirin is an effective way to block the virus. But keep in mind that it will not help you much or long without professional help. So call 911 immediately if you have the heart attack.
- Take your own nitroglycerin. If you feel you are having a heart attack and you have been prescribed nitroglycerine for a heart condition, take it as your doctor has instructed you. Don’t take another person’s nitroglycerin because it can prove dangerous for you.
What to Do If Someone Else Is Having a Heart Attack
Quick action is crucial in case of a heart attack because it can increase the patient’s chance of survival and reduce the harm done to the heart. Here are the necessary steps you should take when you suspect that someone is having a heart attack.
Step 1: Seat the person down and communicate with the patient.
Explain to him or her that they should keep calm and rest. When someone is having a heart attack, he does not fall unconscious immediately and often does not do it at all. So it’s very important to communicate with the patient – ask them where it hurts, instruct them to relax and breathe deeply. Explain to them how you are helping, e.g. calling for emergency medical team, doing CPR, etc.
Step 2: Help the patient to take medications.
Unbutton their shirt and loosen the tie so that they can breathe easily.Ask if they take medication for a heart condition, such as nitroglycerine, and help them have a dosage of it.If you see that their condition does not improve 3 minutes after taking the medication, call for a professional medical help.
Step 3: Perform the CRP to help.
Call for an ambulance if the patient is unconscious or does not respond, then immediately start performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).If you are not trained doing CPR, you’d better skip mouth-to-mouth breathing and resort only to chest compressions. They should be about 100 per minute. Ask the emergency line dispatcher if you are not sure how to do CPR correctly. If you don’t know CPR at all, there’s still a way to help the patient. Just start pushing fast and hard into the center of their chest and continue doing that until professional help arrives or if the person regains consciousness. This procedure, known as Hands-Only CPR, is equally safe for adults and children over 8 years of age.
Another emergency procedure in case of a heart attack is defibrillation. If you have AED (automatic external defibrillator) at hand, follow the instructions written on the device. It tells if a patient needs electroshock treatment to revive heart beatings. Note that the EAD is safe for the person who handles it because it gives electroshocks only to anyone who needs them.
Here Are the Things You Should NOT Do in Case of a Heart Attack:
- Do not leave the patient alone, except to call for help;
- Do not listen if the patient tells you that they will be all right and there is no need to seek professional help;
- Do not wait to see if the symptoms will go away;
- Do not give the person any medication, unless they have some already prescribed by their doctor, such as nitroglycerine.
The video below will give you more information on how to give first aid to a person with a heart attack: