Updated: Mar 26, 2019
Would you know how to react if you suspected you had a heart attack? When oxygen is unable to reach your heart, which is carried by blood through your arteries, the cells in your heart begin to die, and a heart attack occurs. The Heart Research Institute of Canada estimates that every 7 minutes an adult suffers a heart attack. Be sure that you are alert and prepared to act if you feel the warning signs; it could save your life:
The Warning Signs
The primary sign to look out for in case of a heart attack is a pain in your chest. Tightness in your chest isn’t always a sign that you will have a heart attack, but if the pain makes its way throughout your chest and begins to spread to your mouth, ears, wrists and back, you may need to take immediate action. Unfortunately, many people wait until it’s too late to receive medical attention because they mistake the chest constrictions for heartburn or acid reflex. Here are some symptoms that could indicate a heart attack; if you experience multiple symptoms you should seek medical attention:
Roaming pain (pain that moves from your chest to other upper body parts such as your shoulders, back, stomach and head)
Overwhelming sickness (nausea, cold sweats, lightheadedness, etc.)
Losing colour in your face (turning pale)
Shortness of breath (loss of breath from inactivity)
Heart beating at an incredibly fast rate
Dizziness/Inability to See Clearly
What You Can Do
If you believe you are having a heart attack, you should dial 9-1-1 immediately and relay your concerns to the dispatcher. They will send an ambulance out to your location, and when paramedics arrive, they will be able to perform emergency treatment to prevent your heart from stopping completely. Although you may feel okay enough to drive, waiting for medical assistance can make a positive difference in your treatment, and it also prevents you from suffering a worse accident while on the road. Loosen your clothing so medics can perform necessary medical care; stay comfortable and do not partake in physical activity. Aspirin can help by reducing any clogging inside of your blood vessels; only take one if you are not allergic to it.
Differences Between Men and Women
Women are at a greater risk of suffering a heart attack than men. Unfortunately, the signs in women are not so clear cut, which often leads to them receiving medical attention too late. Usually, the pain isn’t in the chest; in fact, many women experience pain in their neck, jaw, legs and abdomen when they have a heart attack. They tend to experience extreme shortness of breath and fatigue as if they’ve completed a physical workout while standing still.
Should any women or men experience any of the signs mentioned above, they should seek medical assistance immediately. Unfortunately, many people feel embarrassed or unsure when experiencing these warning signs and instead of seeking help chalk their symptoms up to heartburn or indigestion; this has caused countless deaths, and it is much wiser to take no chances with your life.