Heart attacks are no longer an event exclusive to people of old age and people who suffer from a congenital cardiac condition. Over the past few years, more and more young people have suffered from cardiac arrest.
In fact, even fit and apparently healthy individuals are at risk of heart disease.
That’s why it’s important to be able to recognise its signs, so that when it does come, you can help save both your life and others.
Common signs of heart attack in women, according to the American Heart Association:
- Pain, pressure or discomfort in the chest area or center of the chest, lasting more than a few minutes.
- Pain in one or both arms, neck, back, jaw and/or stomach.
- Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
- You may also sweat, experience nausea or feel dizzy.
- Women are more likely to experience all these symptoms.
“Although men and women may experience chest pain described as though an elephant was sitting on top of their chest, women can experience a heart attack without feeling pain or pressure in the chest”. -Dr. Nieca Golberg, medical director of Women’s Health Center
Common signs of heart attack in men, according to WebMD :
- Discomfort, pressure or chest pain.
- Pain in the arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.
- Difficulty breathing, dizziness, nausea or sweating.
- Upset stomach that may be confused with stomach acid.
According to Mohamud Daya, MD, an associate professor of emergency medicine at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland, people suffering from a heart attack doesn’t always experience symptoms like those you see on films.
“Some people say they just feel uneasy discomfort or vague discomfort, not pain that really hurts. Sometimes it feels more like heaviness or pressure.”
Find out why “every second matters” on the next page!
Every second matters
Time is of the essence for those who are suffering from a heart attack; in fact, mere minutes could mean the difference between life and death.
“If you get to the hospital in a few minutes rather than a few hours, you are more likely to have a better outcome with less complications, and you are less likely to die,” says Holli A. DeVon, PhD, RN.
This is why being able to recognise the signs of heart attack is crucial. If you suspect that you or someone is having an attack, immediately contact emergency services.
“That’s because emergency responders offer more than just a ride,” WebMD says. “They can give you oxygen, heart medications, and pain relievers; monitor your heart rhythm and vital signs; and transmit potentially lifesaving information to the hospital to get a jump start on tests and treatment.”
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