Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack and acting quickly to respond to those symptoms is the best way to save your life. During one of these attacks, any delay can make a huge difference in the outcome. If you are at risk of having a heart attack, knowing the symptoms and teaching the people around you how to spot them is smart.
A heart attack is technically called a myocardial infarction. Taken literally and translated from Latin into English the term means “the death of the heart muscle from lack of oxygen.” That’s an appropriate description of what happens in the body during a heart attack. When the blood supply to the heart is blocked, no oxygen can reach the cells in the muscle. Without oxygen, the heart cells start dying off which creates the sensations we feel as symptoms of the heart attack. The longer the blood supply is blocked the more cells and tissue will die.
Understanding the symptoms for a heart attack in men can lead to a faster trip to the emergency room which can minimize the loss of heart cells and tissue. One of the most common symptoms is chest pain, also known as angina. In some cases, this chest pain can begin days or weeks before the actual heart attack strikes. Other times, the onset is sudden. The pain can sometimes move through your shoulder, back, arm, and even into your face. Additional symptoms include shortness of breath, sweating, fainting, and nausea. Women have slightly different symptoms.
If you begin experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack, you should act quickly and get medical attention. The best idea is to call 9-1-1 and request an ambulance. The emergency medical staff are trained to take fast action to help minimize your danger or to revive you if necessary. Only when am ambulance is not an option should you have someone drive you to the hospital. Driving yourself is not a smart idea because you could lose consciousness while behind the wheel. Do not waste time trying to find someone to drive you or worrying about how you will pay the ambulance bill. Your life could depend on your fast action.
If you are with a man who is suffering from the symptoms of a heart attack, there are some steps you can take while you are waiting for the ambulance to arrive. As long as he is still conscious, try giving him medication, such as prescribed nitroglycerin (if applicable) or aspirin. Both can sometimes buy the patient more time. If he has lost consciousness, call 9-1-1 and follow their directions to resuscitate him.
Depending on the amount of time oxygen was blocked from the heart, the amount of damage done to the heart muscle will vary. A single massive heart attack could result in death almost instantly. For other people, they have longer chances to respond and can survive many milder heart attacks. Generally, the cardiologist will need to determine the location of the blockages causing the heart attack so the arteries can be opened up again.