Caregiver's Guide to Recognizing Uncommon Signs of a Heart Attack
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Caregiver's Guide to Recognizing Uncommon Signs of a Heart Attack

Seeking medical attention as soon as possible is critical in order to prevent long-term harm and even death when it comes to heart attacks. Unfortunately, many caregivers and seniors may fail to recognize some of the less-common signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Here’s a rundown of the symptoms you should look out for.

Common Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Chest pain is often considered the most characteristic sign of a heart attack, although it can be difficult to distinguish from other forms of chest discomfort. Other common signs and symptoms include shortness of breath, nausea, indigestion, cold sweat, and feeling lightheaded or more fatigued than usual. These classic heart attack symptoms may immediately signal that something is wrong and that the patient needs medical care. 

Lesser-Known Symptoms of Heart Attack

In addition to the most common signs of a heart attack, there are other less-common indicators that should not be missed. These include jaw pain, pain in either arm, nausea or indigestion without chest discomfort, lightheadedness or dizziness, and back pressure due to reduced blood flow. 

Signs of a Silent Heart Attack

In some cases, a heart attack may not present any of the classic symptoms. A "silent" heart attack typically can be distinguished by the presence of less obvious signs such as dizziness, excessive sweating, and unexplained fatigue. If any of these are noticed in a senior or loved one, it's essential to seek medical help promptly. 

When to Seek Immediate Help

If any of these signs or symptoms are noticed in a senior, it's essential to seek medical help promptly. A heart attack can be life-threatening and therefore should not be taken lightly. If the patient experiences tightness, pressure, discomfort, pain or heaviness in either arm, chest or jaw—regardless of how mild—they should seek emergency services right away. You should also seek emergency health services any time a senior notes feelings of heaviness or impending doom, or if you have any reason to suspect a serious problem. Often, those symptoms can be camouflaged by other health problems. However, prompt medical attention can make a huge difference in patient outcomes. When in doubt, seek medical care to ensure that you or your senior loved one will receive whatever support you need as soon as possible.

Qualified Care for Seniors in East San Diego

At Senior Helpers East San Diego, we help provide in-home care for seniors in La Mesa, San Diego, El Cajon, Santee, and Lakeside. For seniors at significant risk of a heart attack, in-home care can help decrease the odds that a senior will be alone when disaster strikes. After a heart attack, seniors and their loved ones may feel more comfortable knowing that they have someone checking in or assisting with daily activities. Contact us today to learn more about the services we can provide and how we can help.