The most common symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but there are other signs that can point to a heart attack:
– shortness of breath
– pain that may spread to the arms, neck, jaw, or shoulders
– paleness, sweating, or weakness
– chest pain accompanied by feelings of fullness, pressure, or pinching
– nausea, vomiting, and possible indigestion
– anxiety or fear
The majority of heart attack symptoms present in both men and women, but there are certain differences.
Women are more likely to experience discomfort in the chest than sharp pain or tightness. These milder symptoms don’t mean that a heart attack is any less serious for women, though. Any symptoms of a heart attack should be taken seriously. In men, a heart attack may feel like heaviness or tightness behind the breastbone. Men may also feel very tired, experience shortness of breath, or break out in a cold sweat.
Did you know that it takes just 3 minutes for brain damage to occur following a cardiac arrest if action is not taken? This damage becomes progressively irreversible and reduces one’s chances of survival to practically zero after the 8th minute.
So, how should you react if you are experiencing symptoms?
At the first sign of trouble, don’t waste a single second. If you feel intense chest pain for more than 15 minutes, or if you experience a burning or clenching sensation, there is only one thing to do: call 911. The first three hours are crucial. Blood flow must be restored to the blocked artery very quickly in order to increase the odds of a full recovery. Every minute counts!
If you see someone who is experiencing symptoms of a cardiac arrest, start by trying to calm them down to reduce the stress being placed on their heart. Tell the person to sit up – they will be able to breathe better in that position. If the person is unconscious and breathing, lay them on the floor on their side and tilt their head back. If they are not breathing, begin compressions to try and restart her heart. No matter the situation, call 911 for help.