If you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you may have only a few minutes to act. A heart attack can strike suddenly, and sometimes without warning. It’s important to know what to do in an emergency. There are many different causes of heart attacks… And there is a lot you should know.
If you, or someone you know, experience any of the following symptoms, it is important to seek professional help immediately:
-Upper abdomen pain that lasts a long time.
-Discomfort or pain that spreads past the chest to the shoulders, teeth, jaw, or neck.
-shortness of breath, or inability to catch breath even after several minutes have passed
-extreme dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting.
-sweating and/or nausea.
-uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing pain in the center of the chest (or where the heart is located).
-Sometimes the pain might go away and then come back. If it doesn’t go away, or it keeps coming back repeatedly, seek help.
But the really terrible thing is, sometimes there are no symptoms at all.
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain. The length of time a heart attack can last varies immensely. Sometimes it can be shorter or longer, but generally it lasts more than fifteen minutes. Some people that experience a heart attack may have symptoms and warning signs hours, days, or weeks in advance. The earliest of these warning signs is generally continuous episodes of chest pain when the person is active. The pain usually disappears with rest.
Heart attacks are commonly caused by an artery becoming blocked. It’s the artery’s job to provide blood and oxygen to the heart. When one is blocked, it can easily injure or destroy part of the muscle that makes up the heart.
When fat, plaque, and cholesterol build up in the artery walls, this is called atherosclerosis. It tends to develop gradually over time. The arteries narrow and harden, they become less elastic and unable to stretch to support the flow of blood. If blood can’t reach the body, that part of the body eventually ceases to function from lack of oxygen. Sometimes the atherosclerosis can rupture, causing blood to clot, killing off tissue. This is a common cause of heart attacks.
There are certain things that can be done, if professional help is not available. This is why it’s important to make sure that you are educated on what to do in case of a heart attack.
If you, or someone you know, may be having a heart attack —CALL 911
While waiting for paramedics to arrive, have the victim sit at rest. If they are not allergic to aspirin and it is not contraindicated for them, give them an aspirin. But don’t forget – they MUST chew it.
If the victim goes unconscious and stops breathing, you will need to start CPR. Performing effective CPR in a timely manner can save the lives of those around you.