Unfortunately, for lots of people the first sign that something isn’t right is a heart attack. The reason is interrupting or complete stop of the blood supply to some part of the heart muscle. This usually happens when a blood lump forms in a diseased coronary artery which is already become narrowed by atherosclerosis.
Patients usually describe the pain of a heart attack as a central, crushing sort of pain - like a tight-fitting band around the chest. This pain is severe and it doesn't decrease when you rest.
At times it can be mild, in such cases people think by mistake it is an indigestion. Some people do not experience pain during heart attack.
For all people, both men and women, the most general sign of a heart attack is a pain or discomfort in the central part of the chest. It may last more than a couple of minutes, or it may go away and then come back.
Other general signs of a heart attack are as follows:
- Ache or discomfort in one or both arms, neck, back, jaw, even stomach;
- Shortness of breath. The shortness of breath frequently occurs before or along with the pain or discomfort in the chest;
- Nausea or vomiting;
- Feeling faint or woozy;
- A cold sweat.
It is more characteristic for women to have these other general signs of a heart attack, shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, pain in the neck, back, or jaw in particular. Women are often more likely to have less general signs of a heart attack. These are: heartburn, coughing, loss of appetite, heart trembling, feeling tired or weak.
More often the signs of a heart attack occur suddenly, but they may also develop slowly, during hours, days, or even weeks before a heart attack happens.
The more heart attack signs are present, the more likely it is that a patient is having a heart attack. If you have already experiensed a heart attack, the symptoms may not repeat for another one. Even if you're not sure you're having a heart attack, you should still have it checked out.
If you think you, or someone else, is having a heart attack, don’t wait long — call 911 and seek medical help immediately.
Modern treatments can reinstate the blood supplies to the heart muscle. If the treatment will be given as quickly as possible, the permanent damage will be less.