You may heard of people getting heart attacks, but can you recognise the warning signs? The signs may vary and usually last for at least 10 minutes. You may experience one or more of these symptoms below:
1) PAIN IN THE CHEST: Usually starting in the centre of the chest. The pain may come on suddenly, start slowly, develop over minutes, or come and go, and then return again. It may feel like tightness, pressure, heaviness, fullness, or squeezing. The pain may be severe, moderate or even mild.
2) PAIN SPREADING: The chest discomfort may spread to the neck and throat, jaw, shoulders, the back, either or both arms and even to the wrists and hands.
3) DISCOMFORT IN THE UPPER BODY: Some people may get a feeling of choking in the throat, or indigestion. The arms may feel ‘heavy’ or ‘useless’.
4) BREAKING INTO A SWEAT: Usually people will feel unwell and sweaty.
5) UNUSUAL SIGNS: There may be shortness of breath or some difficulty breathing, nausea or vomiting, a cold sweat, or a feeling of being dizzy or light-headed, or anxious.
6) EXTREME TIREDNESS: A study in the journal Circulation in 2003 found the most common early warning sign of a heart attack in women was unusual fatigue. The research surveyed 515 women after a heart attack, and 70 per cent of these patients said they suffered unusual fatigue in the month before the heart attack, 47 per cent had disturbed sleep, while 42 per cent experienced shortness of breath.
The first hour of getting a heart attack is crucial as measures can be taken to decrease heart damage and increase chances of survival. Take these actions immediately when you or a loved one are having even mild heart attack symptoms:
- Go to the nearest emergency department of a hospital. If you are alone when having the symptoms, call 999 right away for help.
- Stay calm, sit or lie down.
- If the patient is not allergic to aspirin, get him to chew and swallow a baby aspirin (It works faster when chewed and not swallowed whole).
- If the patient stops breathing, perform CPR immediately until the paramedics arrive.