Would you know the Early Warning Signs of a Heart Attack?
CPR Chicks had the pleasure of training and certifying the amazing dental team at Torrey Hills Dental in San Diego. This incredible office has low staff turnover for obvious reasons. Their patients are like members of their family and they treat them as such on a daily basis.
While discussing the heart symptoms during our class, office manager Glenda, told a story that happened a few years ago. A dear, longtime patient called with jaw pain and thought she needed to make an appointment. After asking some questions, Glenda’s nurturing instinct took over and she directed this patient to take an aspirin and call 911. This was a lifesaving decision as It turns out the patient had 2 major heart blockages and was on the verge of having a cardiac arrest. Glenda’s new official title…Angel Hero/Office Manager!
This conversation brought this question to mind… could most people have recognized this scenario as a serious situation? Not all heart problems come with clear warning signs. There is not always an alarming chest clutch followed by a fall to the floor like you see on TV or in the movies. Some heart symptoms don’t even happen in your chest, and it’s not always easy to tell what’s going on.
1. Chest Discomfort
It’s the most common sign of heart danger. If you have a blocked artery or are having a , you may feel pain, tightness, or pressure in your chest. My mother described this as having an elephant sitting on her chest. She took action and doctors found a 97% heart blockage.
2. Nausea, Indigestion, Heartburn, or Stomach Pain
Some people have these symptoms during a heart attack. They may even vomit, Chambers says.Women are more likely to report this type of symptom than men are.
3. Pain that Spreads to the Arm
Another classic heart attack symptom is pain that radiates down the left side of the body.
4. You Feel Dizzy or Lightheaded
A lot of things can make you lose your balance or feel faint for a moment. Maybe you didn’t have enough to eat or drink, or you stood up too fast. But if you suddenly feel unsteady and you also have chest discomfort or shortness of breath, call a doctor right away.
5. Throat or Jaw Pain
By itself, throat or jaw pain probably isn’t heart related. More likely, it’s caused by a muscular issue, a cold, or a sinus problem. But if you have pain or pressure in the center of your chest that spreads up into your throat or jaw, it could be a sign of a heart attack.
6. You Get Exhausted Easily
If you suddenly feel fatigued or winded after doing something you had no problem doing in the past — like climbing the stairs or carrying groceries from the car — make an appointment with your doctor right away. Extreme exhaustion or unexplained weakness, sometimes for days at a time, can be a symptom of , especially for women.
It’s normal to snore a little while you snooze. But unusually loud that sounds like a gasping or choking can be a sign of . That’s when you stop breathing for brief moments several times at night while you are still sleeping. This puts extra stress on your heart.
Breaking out in a cold sweat for no obvious reason could signal a heart attack. If this happens along with any of these other symptoms, call 911 to get to a hospital right away. Don’t try to drive yourself.
9. A Cough That Won’t Quit
In most cases, this isn’t a sign of heart trouble. But if you have heart disease or know you’re at risk, pay special attention to the possibility. If you have a long-lasting cough that produces a white or pink mucus, it could be a sign of. This happens when the heart can’t keep up with the body’s demands, causing blood to leak back into the lungs.
10. Your Legs, Feet, and Ankles Are Swollen
This could be a sign that your heart doesn’t pump blood as effectively as it should. When the heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes. Heart failure can also make it harder for the kidneys to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which can lead to bloating.
11. Irregular Heart Beat
It’s normal for your heart to race when you are nervous or excited or to skip or add a beat once in a while. But if you feel like your heart is beating out of time for more than just a few seconds, or if it happens often, tell your doctor. Vincent Bufalino, MD, from the American Heart Association says, “The more risk factors you have the more you should be concerned about anything that might be heart-related.” This is especially true if you are 60 or older.
The most important thing to remember is that you know your own body and what is “normal” verses something that just doesn’t seem quite right. If you are in doubt, take action. Don’t just assume your indigestion is from the hot dog you enjoyed on July 4th or the jaw pain is dental related.
If you experience any of these heart attack symptoms, do not hesitate to seek medical attention. Call or have someone call 911 immediately and tell them you might be having a heart attack.
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