Millions of people suffer a heart attack each year. According to the doctors, a heart attack involves permanent damage of the heart muscle.The three major causes that lead to the damage of the heart muscle are high blood pressure, high cholesterol and smoking. What most of the people don’t know is that a heart attack does not strike suddenly, but it is preceded by several symptoms that we may see in the days or weeks leading up to it. According to a study conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in 2005, 92% of the interviewed patients recognized chest discomfort as a symptom of a heart attack. Only 27% were aware of all major symptoms and knew to call 9-1-1 when someone was having a heart attack. This is a very important issue, because approximately half of all heart attacks happen outside of a hospital, and early detection is key in survival, according to the specialists. So, pay attention to the following symptoms if you are between the persons with risk of heart attack or if you know somebody who may suffer such a condition.
- Pressure within the chest and dizziness
A feeling like you cannot breathe deeply can occur in case of a heart attack due to poor circulation, which can be accompanied by mild confusion and dizziness. Chest discomfort is the most common symptom. While some people feel a pressure in their chest, others feel burning or pinching. The chest discomfort is common in mostly in women’s cases. As blood circulation is restricted with a weakened heart, the brain may not be receiving the amount of oxygen it needs and it appears the feeling of dizziness.
- Indigestion and nausea
Some of the signs that are most often overlooked are stomach pain and nausea. Symptoms can vary from mild indigestion to severe nausea, cramps and vomiting. Some people experience a cramping pain in the upper abdomen, this sign is most common in women and adults over 60 years. Of course, in most cases, stomach pain and nausea are not the signs of a heart attack. But be more careful when something seems unusual, especially if symptoms appear suddenly and you didn’t eat something you know it does not make you good.
- Shortness of breath
Another major sign of an impending heart attack is shortness of breath. This happens because the lungs don’t get the amount of oxygen that they need, as the heart and lungs work in unison, so as the heart begins to work poorly.
An exhausting fatigue that persists for several days is another sign that something is not right in the heart. This is too often ignored because there are explanations for being tired all the time. Especially women who have had a heart attack, remembered that they had this symptom before. More than 70% of those included in a study reported extreme fatigue in the weeks and months before the heart attack.
Unlike other fatigue, one related to a heart is unusually strong. If you’re a person usually quite energetic and suddenly feels an intense fatigue, to go to a doctor immediately.
- Flu-like symptoms
If you sweat, feel tired, weak and dizzy you might have the flu. But it can be also the sign that it will follow a heart attack. If you notice signs that resemble to those of a flu, but you have no fever, pay a visit to your doctor.
- Swelling and pain in the legs
When the heart muscle does not work properly, veins can begin to swell causing a bloating effect. Swelling occurs in the legs, legs because they are the farthest from the heart, so the movement is weaker. Furthermore, when tissues do not receive enough blood can get to ischemia, a condition that is painful.