Heart Attack Basics

Featured Article, Healthy Heart, Heart attack
on August 13, 2011
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Heart attacks are frequently lethal events. Myocardial infarctions occur when a blood clot stops the flow of blood to the heart, causing damage and even death. The seriousness of the condition merits an understanding of the heart attack basics. Know the signs and symptoms and what you should do if you develop any of the indicators.

Alertness to heart attack signs can save your life. According to the Mayo Clinic, more people than ever are aware of the signs and symptoms — preventing deadly outcomes. The common signals that you are having a heart attack include nausea; fainting; sense of dread or doom; sweating; shortness of breath; chest pain episodes; pain down the arm, back, teeth and jaw; pressure, squeezing and fullness in the center of the chest, lasting a couple minutes or longer; clammy skin; heartburn; lightheadedness and fatigue.

Atypical symptoms are typical. Do not think that one or all of the symptoms must be present in order to be experiencing a heart attack. Not all people experience the same things exactly the same way. The important thing is to act quickly if a heart attack is suspected.

When in doubt, act. If you suspect that you have one or more of the symptoms listed above, get to a hospital as quickly as possible. Early intervention often prevents death and damage to the heart. Call 911 or have someone bring you to the emergency room of the nearest hospital. Driving yourself is seen as a last resort since it’s a potential danger to yourself and others, should your condition worsen in transit.

Prevention is power. You have more of a role in staving off a heart attack than you may think. Your lifestyle has a big effect on your risk of myocardial infarction. Adopt a healthy lifestyle that includes regular visits to your doctor and a diet that is low in saturated fat and rich in fiber. Include regular exercise into your daily routine and don’t smoke. These changes can limit the chances that you will experience a heart attack in the future. Partner with your doctor for the best heart health care and management.