Warning Signs of a Heart Attack: Are You at Risk?


Not many individuals can sense a heart attack once it hits them, especially when they don’t have a clue about its warning signs and symptoms. A heart attack, which is medically referred to as myocardial infarction, occurs when the blood flow to the heart is blocked due to the buildup of substances such as cholesterol and fat in the coronary arteries.



A heart attack can be lethal, but it can be treated appropriately, especially when medical intervention is sought right away.

Symptoms of a heart condition

Before knowing about the warning signs of an oncoming heart attack, it’s best to know if you are at risk for a heart problem. Not all heart conditions come in clear warning signs, but there are specific symptoms that may indicate them. The most common one is chest discomfort, which could feel like a pain, pressure, or tightness in the chest. Note that this feeling may not last longer than a couple of minutes and may occur even when you’re not doing anything physical.

Exhaustion is also a probable sign of a heart problem, especially if you suddenly feel fatigued after doing an activity that you had no trouble performing in the past, such as climbing the stairs or just walking around the block.

If you’ve had bouts of unexplained weakness and occasional chest pains for some time now, it’s best to have a consultation with your doctor right away.

Beware of the early signs

The warning signs of a heart attack vary for men and women. Some may start slowly and others come suddenly and intensely. The most common symptom is chest discomfort, which usually starts in the center of the chest. This squeezing or fullness in the chest may last for more than a few minutes and may disappear and then return right after.

While we see only a clutching on the chest as a pre-heart attack sign as depicted in the movies, an individual could also experience discomforts in other areas of the body, particularly in one or both arms, neck, jaw, the back, or the stomach. Other signs include shortness of breath, nausea or a feeling of lightheadedness, or breaking out in cold sweat.

Seek immediate help

Don’t wait too long before seeking medical attention if you think you’re having a heart attack. Call for emergency help right away. If you don’t have access to your local emergency services, get someone to drive you to the nearest health facility. Take prescription nitroglycerin as instructed while waiting for medical help or aspirin as recommended, as the latter could help reduce heart damage by thinning the blood to keep it from clotting.

Getting medical intervention

Once you are taken in for emergency care, you should undergo an electrocardiogram, which is an essential test for suspected heart attacks. This diagnostic test should be performed within 10 minutes from your admission to the hospital.

An ECG, also referred to as EKG, uses EKG sensors to measure the heart’s electrical activity. An ECG machine records tiny electrical impulses that come in every heartbeat onto paper, which will help your doctor know whether the heart is functioning properly. This test will also confirm the diagnosis of a heart attack and determine what type it is so that you may be given the most effective intervention to treat it.

Once initial treatment has been carried out and your condition has been stabilized, your doctor may request other tests, including blood enzyme tests, echocardiogram, chest X-ray, or coronary angiography.

Prevention is key

While age, obesity, and certain health habits are common risk factors that come with a heart attack, its occurrence should be prevented by religiously taking maintenance medications as prescribed by your doctor and making healthier and wiser lifestyle choices.

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