During a heart attack, blood flow to part of the heart muscle is greatly reduced or stopped. This happens because one or more of the coronary arteries are blocked by a blood clot or narrowed due to spasm. If the blood and oxygen are cut off for more than a few minutes, heart muscle cells suffer permanent injury and start to die.
This is why responding quickly to warnings signs is so important. Warning signs are your body’s way of telling you something is wrong and you need help. Quick action means you can benefit from new treatments that can minimize heart damage. But time is critical. You must receive treatment as soon as possible.
Getting help fast can save more of your heart muscle–and maybe your life!
Warning Signs of Heart Attack
Sometimes, heart attacks are sudden and intense. It looks like a “movie heart attack,” in which a person gasps, clutches at his or her heart and drops to the ground. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the person affected isn’t sure what is wrong and may wait too long before getting help.
Here are other signs:
Chest discomfort -Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest. It may last more than a few minutes. Or it might go away and come back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body-Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath-This may occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs-These include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women may be more likely to have some other common symptoms. These include shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
For additional information and a great resources check the American Heart Association, http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/