Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of the heart is obstructed, most commonly by plaque buildup in the coronary arteries. This blockage can cause heart muscle damage or death. If you suspect that you or someone else is experiencing a heart attack, contact Prime Heart and Vascular since it can be a life-threatening medical emergency.
When it comes to a heart attack, the doctor will evaluate the patient’s symptoms and medical history and perform a physical examination. This may include listening to the heart and lungs, checking for chest pain or discomfort signs, and looking for other signs of cardiovascular disease. To confirm a diagnosis of a heart attack, the doctor may order diagnostic tests such as an electrocardiogram (ECG) or a blood test to measure cardiac biomarkers.
The doctor may also perform additional tests to evaluate the extent of the damage to the heart muscle and to determine the best course of treatment. The warning signs of a heart attack can vary from person to person, including:
Squeezing, pressure, or fullness in the center of the chest may occur. This pain or discomfort may be felt in other upper body areas, such as the arms, jaw, back, or stomach. The pain or discomfort in the chest may be mild or severe, and it may come and go. It can last anywhere from a few minutes to several hours.
Shortness of breath
Shortness of breath is a common warning sign of a heart attack, and it can occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. In some cases, shortness of breath may be the only symptom of a heart attack. This can happen when the heart is not pumping enough blood to the body, which can cause the lungs to fill with fluid. This can make it difficult to catch your breath, even when you are not exerting yourself.
Nausea or vomiting
Another possible symptom of a heart attack is nausea or vomiting. They can occur in conjunction with or without chest pain or discomfort. The release of certain hormones in response to the heart attack and the anxiety and stress of the situation can cause nausea or vomiting. It’s important to note that nausea and vomiting can be caused by various other conditions, including indigestion, food poisoning, and certain medications, so it’s critical to see a doctor for a proper diagnosis.
Lightheadedness or dizziness
It can occur when the heart is not pumping enough blood to the brain, which can cause a decrease in blood flow and oxygen to the brain. This can make you feel lightheaded or dizzy or cause you to lose consciousness. This symptom can be accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain, shortness of breath, and sweating.
Treatment for a heart attack may include the following:
- Medications: aspirin, which is given as soon as possible to help prevent blood clots from forming, and clot-busting drugs like tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) which can help dissolve blood clots and restore blood flow to the heart.
- Rehabilitation: After a heart attack, a rehabilitation program may be prescribed to help the patient recover and improve their overall heart health. This may include medications, diet and lifestyle changes, and exercise.
Call your doctor if you experience any of these signs.