Heart Attack? Diagnose and Treat Them Quick

Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person, and the absence of these symptoms does not mean that one has not had an attack. They are often mistaken for indigestion or other common maladies, but this can prove deadly if the heart attack is not treated immediately. The following article will explore some of the telltale signs of heart attacks, and how to react in the event that they occur. You can also find helpful advice on what to do if you suspect a loved one may be suffering from a heart attack, as well as information on how to prevent them in the first place.

Know your risk factors

The biggest risk factor for heart disease is a strong family history of it. If your parents or siblings have already had one or more heart attacks, you should be especially vigilant about your own health, particularly if you also have risk factors such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol or excess weight.

Seek help if you experience heart attack symptoms

Heart attacks are often accompanied by pain, pressure, or tightness in one area of your chest. They can also cause shortness of breath, weakness or tiredness, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, or cold sweats. If you experience any of these symptoms, seek help immediately; medical attention could save your life. Dial 911 for an ambulance if you’re able to do so safely; otherwise call for emergency assistance and wait for help to arrive. Keep reading for more on recognizing a heart attack and its treatments!

Call the ambulance right away

If you suspect a heart attack, dial 911 as soon as possible. Paramedics can administer clot-busting drugs on-site and then transport you to a hospital. You may also want to call ahead, so they’re ready when you arrive. Cardiac arrest generally requires immediate treatment with medications called thrombolytics, which dissolve blood clots in blocked arteries.

What’s next?

A heart attack occurs when an artery that brings blood to your heart becomes blocked. The lack of oxygen-rich blood to part of your heart can cause pain in that area or a feeling of tightness, as well as nausea, weakness, shortness of breath, dizziness or lightheadedness. According to experts at UC San Diego Health, you should call 911 if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms.

Do self-checkups regularly

A heart attack can be caused by many different things, so it’s important to take charge of your health as much as possible. At home, check your pulse regularly and compare it to what you know is normal for you.

What exactly is a heart attack?

A heart attack occurs when a blood vessel that supplies oxygen to part of your heart is suddenly blocked by a clot or ruptures. The cells in that part of your heart begin to die within minutes unless they get oxygen, which they can’t get because blood flow has been cut off.

Myths and Facts About Heart Attacks

Many Americans think a heart attack is something that will never happen to them, says Lauren Nikolai, MD, of Banner Heart Hospital in Mesa, Arizona. People think they have to have chest pain or shortness of breath before they call 911 for help, she explains. However, signs of a heart attack can be subtle—even vague—such as shoulder pain or indigestion.

Treatments options

Most heart attacks are caused by a blood clot, so treating them often starts with breaking up clots. The two primary ways to do that are with clot-busting drugs called thrombolytics (also known as clot busters) or surgery. At most hospitals, heart attack patients are treated with a drug called streptokinase when they arrive. After four hours, they may also receive tPA if they still haven’t shown significant improvement.

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