Heart attacks occur when there isn’t enough blood flow getting to the heart, preventing it from getting the oxygen it needs to function. This naturally is a dangerous condition, one that can result in lasting tissue damage, and in severe cases, even can cause death in the individual suffering one.
Multiple factors can contribute to and cause the lack of blood flow. Most of the time, the cause is a blockage that occludes one or more of the arteries, due to plaque build up. In all cases, a heart attack is a life threatening emergency, which will require immediate medical attention.
The symptoms can differ from person to person. There are marked similarities and differences when it comes to the genders as well. Most men report the following signs and symptoms.
- Severe discomfort in the chest area. This may feel either as though something heavy is sitting on the chest and applying pressure to the entire region, or that there is significant pain coming from under the breastbone. Chest pain is a classic symptom of a heart attack, perhaps the most well known by just about anyone off the street.
- Discomfort shifting to other parts of the body. In addition to the chest, pain may also be felt as a nagging ache around the back, arm, throat or jaw area.
- The sensation of choking. Men may feel as though they were full from a particularly large meal and experiencing indigestion. They could also begin to choke in a manner similar to when they have heartburn.
- Nausea. They may begin sweating, no matter what the room temperature is, as well as feeling dizzy and having their stomach turn, which can cause vomiting.
- Severe weakness. The interruption in blood supply to the heart will make someone feel weaker, causing them to experience intense physical fatigue despite the fact that no exertion had occurred. This can also cause anxiety and shortness of breath.
- Irregular heartbeat. If the pulse or heart rate is checked, you may find it to be abnormally fast, as the heart attempts to compensate for the lack of blood flow. It may also be uneven.
Women may experience many of the same symptoms, although typically are less likely to report feeling chest pains or have a sense of indigestion. Instead, for women, the symptoms tend to be less dramatic and less obvious, which can cause them to be unaware of the amount of danger they’re in.
If you notice the symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or others, emergency assistance must be called for right away. The heart suffers damage every moment that blood flow is blocked, so getting into an emergency room quickly will result in immediate treatment, which will prevent further damage and improve outcomes.
If the heart stops then CPR will have to be performed to keep blood pumping throughout the body until emergency responders can arrive and take over. Surviving a heart attack will mean being mindful of the damage sustained to your heart. This can mean an increased risk of developing kidney disorders, or suffering strokes or further heart attacks.