What is a heart attack? Would you know what it looks like? Knowing heart attack symptoms could save someone's life.
Arteries that supply the blood to the heart can become clogged over a period of time with cholesterol. When these blockages become severe a blood clot may form, the heart does not recieve enough blood and becomes starved for oxygen. Oxygen is carried to the heart through the blood supply.
If this deprivation is short, the result is chest pain (angina) but if it is for a long period of time, then the part of the heart not recieving enough blood actually dies and becomes scar tissue. This is what we call a heart attack.
If the scar tissue is small then the person may be ok as long as they get immediate medical attention. If a large part of the heart dies, or if the heart attack occurs in an important part of the heart such as the natural pacemaker, then the person may not live. Heart attack symptoms are often different for men and women.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Men:
CHEST DISCOMFORT OR PAIN:
This is the most common symptom but not everyone describes it as pain, it can often feel like a tight ache,fullness or squeezing or uncomfortable pressure in the centre of the chest lasting more than a few minutes and may come and go.
PAIN IN THE UPPER PART OF THE BODY:
This may include your neck, arms, jaw, back or shoulders.This may or may not be accompanied by chest discomfort.
SHORTNESS OF BREATH:
Just moving around doing common tasks causes you to pant, you feel like you can't get a deep breath.
NAUSEA: Your stomach feels uneasy, it may feel like nausea or heartburn or even pain.
You may feel sweaty or have cold clammy skin.
ANXIETY OR NERVOUSNESS
PALENESS OR CHANGE IN COLOUR.
URGENT FEELING THAT THINGS ARE NOT RIGHT:
If you feel that things are not right or you have a panicky feeling that something is about to happen, you must call 9-1-1 immediately, do not wait.
Keep in mind that not all of these heart attack symptoms occur at once, they may come and go. Listen to your body and don't be tempted to 'brush off' your symptoms.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women:
Research by the NIH (National Institute of Health) shows that women often experience different symptoms to men. Sometimes their symptoms begin upto a month or more before they actually experience their heart attack.
Doctors call these signs 'prodromal heart symptoms'.
In a NIH study of 76 women who had experienced a heart attack in the previous year(conducted by McSweeney, Cody and Crane), prodromal heart symptoms include:
UNUSUAL FATIGUE (70% of participants reported this symptom)
SLEEP DISTURBANCES (48% reported this symptom)
DISCOMFORT IN THE SHOULDER BLADE UPPER BACK AREA (42%)
SHORTNESS OF BREATH
INDIGESTION (39% reported this symptom)
ANXIETY (35% reported this symptom)
Additional research by the NIH seems to indicate that women experience "a gradual progression of number and severity" of symptoms and often their actual heart attack is different to that of mens.
Major symptoms during a heart attack experienced by a woman include:
SHORTNESS OF BREATH
SWEATING (OFTEN COLD SWEATS)
It is important to note that women do not always report the classic mens symptom of chest pain, symptoms seem to vary widely and in intensity.
However, women are likely to dismiss heart attack symptoms as 'just not feeling well' and are therefore often at greater risk for a severe heart attack.
Prevention begins with recognising the early signs of heart disease and doing something about it.
High cholesterol, high blood pressure and heart health problems are generally lifestyle related and can be helped significantly with the high blood pressure diet and a quality
regime. Research continues to show that people with cardiovascular problems are deficient in key heart health nutrients, particularly calcium,
, potassium, Omega 3 EFA's and the antioxidant vitamins A, C and E.
It is most important that you get professional help from your health care provider. However, it is just as important that you keep yourself well informed about nutrition and your health: knowledge is power!