February is Heart Month!
Know the Signs and Symptoms of a Heart Attack A heart attack happens when the blood supply to the heart is cut off. Cells in the heart muscle that do not receive enough oxygen-carrying blood begin to die. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart.
Every year about 790,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 580,000 are a first heart attack and 210,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack. About 15% of people who have a heart attack will die from it. Almost half of sudden cardiac deaths happen outside a hospital. Having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, having had a previous heart attack or stroke, or having diabetes can increase your chance of developing heart disease and having a heart attack.
It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 911. A person’s chance of surviving a heart attack increases if emergency treatment is administered as soon as possible.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The National Heart Attack Alert Program notes these major signs of a heart attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. Often comes along with chest discomfort. But it also can occur before chest discomfort.
- Other symptoms. May include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.
If you think that you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 911 immediately. (cdc.gov)