Dealing with a heart attack can seem like a daunting condition to endure, especially for those that do not know what to expect or know what to look for. It’s not uncommon for people to associate heart attacks with sudden and excruciating amounts of pain. It’s particularly common for movies and media to emphasize heart attack through more visible and pronounced symptoms, but heart attack symptoms are not always obvious.
At Banner Urgent Care, we want to equip you with the information and knowledge needed to recognize a heart attack, spot the symptoms in advance, and find treatment to help with a heart attack that you or another person may be suffering from.
A heart attack is not a condition that should be taken lightly. Make sure to take some time to understand the major signs and symptoms of heart attack and know what you can do to help prevent or overcome heart attack.
Recognizing a Heart Attack
While it’s possible for a heart attack to be associated with sudden and excruciating pain, not all heart attacks will be blatantly obvious to each person. A heart attack can strike at any moment and the symptoms that one person experiences may be different than what another person will go through. There are similarities among most heart attack cases, which make them the most common symptoms to look for.
Below are the most common and apparent signs of a heart attack.
- Discomfort and/or pain in the chest. This is among the most commonly recognized signs of heart attack, especially if the discomfort or pain is noted in the central or left-side of the chest.
- Sudden cold sweat
- Abnormally lethargic and tired for longer than expected
- Vomiting and feeling sick to the stomach
- Sudden dizziness or lightheadedness
- Unexpected changes in symptoms of other conditions (e.g., longer lasting or more intense symptoms)
Heart attack symptoms can vary from person to person. The symptoms an individual experiences during one heart attack may not be the exact same the next time it happens. This is why it’s important to know the common signals so that you are versed in recognizing a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms can also develop over a long period of time or pop up unexpectedly in a short period of time. This is why it’s important to acknowledge any concerning symptoms of heart attack and report to a medical professional the moment you begin experiencing them.
If you are experiencing any number of heart attack symptoms, contact 911. If you are experiencing a heart attack, the sooner you can get in contact with medical professionals, the better off you will be. If you are not experiencing these symptoms but want to learn more, a provider at Banner Urgent Care can help you learn what to look for.
Treatment for a Heart Attack
When you begin noticing heart attack symptoms, it’s very important to get in contact with a medical professional as quickly as possible. If you are recognizing heart attack symptoms that are sudden, intensely painful, or extremely uncomfortable or abnormal, it’s best to contact 911. It’s always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dealing with heart attack treatment and care.
Testing for Heart Attack
When a heart attack is not immediately life threatening, tests can be administered to help understand how your body is reacting and whether or not you are currently experiencing early stages of a heart attack or may be at risk. These tests are vitally important to keeping you healthy and to prepare you ahead of time to handle a heart attack (or prevent it from becoming severe).
- EKG (Electrocardiogram). This test painlessly monitors and records the heart’s electrical activity within the body. It can locate and display your heart’s beat and help doctors to determine whether or not it is a steady or irregular beat. This device will record the strength of the heart and show signs of a previous or current heart attack.
- Blood Tests. When a heart attack occurs, the cells of muscles within the heart will die and release specific proteins into the bloodstream. A blood test can identify these proteins and determine the density within the blood stream.
- Coronary Angiography. Using specially designed dyes and x-ray imaging equipment, a coronary angiography is able to provide a visual representation of the blood flow and blockage within the heart.
Immediate Treatment for a Heart Attack
If you are currently experiencing alarming symptoms of a heart attack, 911 or a medical professional should be called immediately. In the meantime, you can help to alleviate symptoms and prevent the risk of the life threatening stages of a heart attack with the following suggestions. Always follow the recommendations of your doctor or 911 dispatcher.
- Take aspirin to reduce any following clotting of blood in the arteries.
- Utilize nitroglycerin to lower the amount of work the heart has to do while improving blood flow through coronary arteries.
- Using oxygen therapy to improve oxygenation in the body that might have otherwise been reduced as a result of a heart attack.
Heart Attack Medication
There are a number of different medication options available for heart attack sufferers or people currently experiencing preliminary symptoms of heart attack. From ACE inhibitors and anticlotting medicines to anticoagulants and statin medicines, your unique medical situation will determine the best medical intervention.
If you are experiencing heart attack symptoms, call 911 immediately.
Additionally, if you are not sure about heart attack treatment, or need to understand the heart attack symptoms, contact us today and we’ll be happy to provide you with more information to keep you prepared for future signs of a heart attack. It’s always best to be safe, rather than sorry. Give us a call today!