Tell-tale Signs Of A Heart Attack and How To Be Prepared

Health & Diet


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We’ve all seen movie scenes where a man gasps, clutches his chest and falls to the ground. In reality, a heart attack victim could easily be a woman, and the scene may not be that dramatic.

Although men and women can experience chest pressure that feels like an elephant sitting across the chest, women can experience a heart attack without chest pressure. Instead they may experience shortness of breath, pressure or pain in the lower chest or upper abdomen, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting, upper back pressure or extreme fatigue. Even when the signs are subtle, the consequences can be deadly, especially if the victim doesn’t get help right away.

To help you prevent this kind of situation, here are the signs of heart attack you should take down and actions you should do when you encounter one.

A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances (plaque).

Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable — the image of the elephant comes to mind — but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.

Chest pain is the most common symptom associated with a heart attack. What some may not realize is that “pain” can be described in a number of ways, and often chest pain feels different depending on who you ask. In addition, patients can often feel pain or achiness in the jaw, shoulders, neck, back or arms during a heart attack. Women, in particular, may experience back or jaw pain and shortness of breath.

Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort is considered a sign of heart attack. Other common signs are breaking into a cold sweat, nausea and lightheadedness/fainting.

Take action right away!
Heart disease is preventable. Here are Goldberg’s top tips:

  • Call for emergency medical help. If you suspect you’re having a heart attack, don’t hesitate. Immediately call 911 or your local emergency number. If you don’t have access to emergency medical services, have someone drive you to the nearest hospital.
  • Take nitroglycerin, if prescribed to you by a doctor. Take it as instructed while awaiting emergency help.
  • Take aspirin, if recommended. Taking aspirin during a heart attack could reduce heart damage by helping to keep your blood from clotting.
  • Change your lifestyle. Maintain a healthy weight with a heart-healthy diet, don’t smoke, exercise regularly, manage stress and control conditions that can lead to heart attack, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.

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