Methodist Hospitals: How to recognize signs of a heart attack - March 19, 2015
Courtesy of NWI Times
Knowing the signs of a heart attack can save your life.
Signs of a heart attack vary according to gender. If you think you might be having a heart attack, stop whatever you are doing and have someone call 911. Every second is counts when treating a heart attack.
Severe Chest Pain
For men, the first sign of a heart attack is tightness in the chest that lasts several minutes. While everyone occasionally experiences minor chest pain, a heart attack sufferer will feel severe chest pressure.
That pressure may move from the chest to the shoulder area, arms and back. Most ordinary chest pains pass when you relax. But during a heart attack, the pain doesn’t go away. Instead, it intensifies.
Shortness of Breath
While just sitting and being sedentary, a heart attack sufferer may feel like he just ran up a flight of stairs. It may become so severe that he may feel like vomiting.
Dizziness is caused by a lack of oxygen to the body, particularly the brain. A man having a heart attack may faint due to lack of oxygen.
Other common heart attack symptoms among men include teeth and jaw pain, cold sweats, frequent burp and frequent yawning.
Heart attacks can be more difficult to diagnose for women. Therefore, it is important to know the differences between how men and women feel when experiencing a heart attack.
A woman having a heart attack will often feel chest pain, just like a man. However, the pain is often lower. It might make some women think they are having stomach pain.
Shortness of Breath
Nearly six of 10 women who had heart attacks felt short of breath.
Women suffering heart attacks often feel unusually tired, as though they cannot get enough sleep or rest. Extreme fatigue may be an early warning sign for a heart attack that will occur weeks later.
While men rarely complain about back pain during a heart attack, women often experience severe back pain while suffering a heart attack.
Many women having a heart attack will experience nausea and will often vomit.
Methodist Hospitals Heart and Vascular Institute is an Accredited Chest Pain Center by the Society of Cardiovascular Patient Care. Methodist’s Chest Pain Coordinator is dedicated to guiding heart attack patients through inpatient treatment and post discharge recovery and rehabilitation.
Methodist has also pioneered new cardiovascular technologies in Northwest Indiana, including the CardioMEMS HF System, a new heart failure monitoring system that improves disease management.
1. Always call 911 if you think you may be having a heart attack.
2. Men should pay attention to physical signs such as chest pain or pressure, shortness of breath and dizziness.
3. Physical signs for women include chest pressure, extreme fatigue, back pain and nausea.
4. Choose an accredited chest pain center to meet your cardiovascular needs.