A lot of us joke about nearly having a heart attack when something happened
…“my boss almost fired me”, “he kissed me for the first time”, “I checked my credit card balance” and so on. However, a real heart attack (or myocardial infarction) is absolutely nothing to make fun of: it kills thousands of people every day. So, what is a heart attack and how to prevent it from happening?
A heart attack is a medical condition in which the supply of blood to your heart is blocked, usually by a blood clot. It happens when there is a buildup of plaque in coronary arteries, which causes a severe loss of blood supply to your heart, and, in turn, may lead to a heart attack. In simple words, a heart attack is a dead tissue that is killed during the loss of blood flow. This dead tissue results in agonizing pain and pressure, both of which are felt when a person is having a heart attack (medical experts explain that the pain that leads to a heart attack is usually located right under your breast bone, or slightly to the left).
Since our heart is basically the most important organ that is keeping us alive, making sure that you are doing your best to keep it healthy is extremely important. There is no doubt that one of the best ways to prevent a heart attack is to spot its symptoms in advance and seek medical advice from your doctor immediately.
Here is a list of the most common symptoms you should be aware of and notify your doctor straight away if any of these is bothering you:
Cold Sweats and Dizziness
When a heart attack is on its way, you may experience episodes of cold sweats and/or dizziness. Poor circulation affects the blood flow, which is vital for a proper brain operation. Cold sweats and dizziness are a sign that you may be at great risk and should never be overlooked.
Shortness of Breath
When the heart gets less blood, it means less oxygen is carried to the lungs, which results in shortness of breath. So, if you are not an asthmatic and not dealing with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the inability to catch breath may indicate a few nasty things and a heart attack is amongst them.
Excessive Fatigue and Weakness
When your body lacks oxygen because of reduced blood flow, you will feel weaker than usual. So, if you are feeling drained and exhausted all the time, it could be the result of the loss of bloodstream to your heart. When there is a buildup of plaque in your arteries, they narrow and reach a dangerous level when your heart is getting far less blood that it needs. As a result of this, your heart has to work harder than it is supposed to, so you feel excessive tiredness.
Discomfort in the Chest or Chest Pains
Chest discomfort or chest pains are very common symptoms, and luckily a lot of people know about this. The lack of oxygen supply to the heart muscle may cause discomfort or pain in the chest, which happens in many cases with patients who have had a heart attack. These symptoms may also be triggered by many different factors, including muscle cramping, virus infections, lack of vitamins and minerals and others, none of which should be ignored, so it is incredibly important to talk to your doctor if you are experiencing chest pains or even just chest discomfort.
Cold and Flu Symptoms
Numerous individuals have recorded chills and influenza-like side effects just days before a heart attack happened. These are rather frightening symptoms and if you are in doubt that your cold is just a cold, make sure to call your doctor.
As the heart struggles to pump blood throughout the body, your veins and arteries begin to swell, causing a bloating effect. The main points of swelling are the legs, feet, and ankles because of their proximity to the heart. These symptoms may indicate a number of other health issues too, so consulting a doctor is incredibly important.
Unusual Aches and Pains
Similar to other medical conditions, an upcoming heart attack triggers pain in various unrelated parts of the body. It may begin at the very center of the chest, and then spread upwards the neck or the jaw – many patients experience severe neck pain and aches in the jaw before a heart attack.
Moreover, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the following conditions may add to your risk of having a heart attack:
- Overweight and obesity
- Poor diet
- Physical inactivity
- Excessive alcohol use
So, now you know the symptoms of a heart attack, you should be able to take better care of yourself and the ones you love! Stay healthy!
By Anastasia T.