If you’re experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, or lightheadedness, you may be having a heart attack. It’s essential to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if you think you’re having one. First, call emergency services and tell them what’s happening.
Then, try to remain calm and follow the instructions that emergency services give you. If you’re experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, or other symptoms that could indicate a heart attack, don’t panic! Instead, you can do things to increase your chances of survival until help arrives.
What to Do If You Think You Have a Heart Attack
What is a heart attack?
A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, happens when the blood flow to the heart is blocked. This can damage or even kill the heart muscle. Symptoms of a heart attack may include chest pain, shortness of breath, sweating, and feeling lightheaded or dizzy. If you think you have a heart attack, it’s essential to get medical help.
Symptoms: What are the signs of a heart attack?
Heart attacks can be difficult to diagnose, as the symptoms can vary from person to person. Some people may experience a crushing pain in the chest, while others may feel pressure or fullness. Many people also report shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating. If you think you have a heart attack, it’s important to seek medical help.
Treatment: What happens during a heart attack? How is it treated?
If you think you have a heart attack, call 911 immediately. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. Heart attacks are most commonly treated with a drug called aspirin. Aspirin helps to thin the blood and keep it from clotting. Other medications may also be given to help improve blood flow and prevent heart damage.
If you have a heart attack, you will likely be admitted to the hospital for treatment. This may include: -Stenting or angioplasty.
This procedure uses a tiny balloon to open up the blocked artery. A metal scaffold (stent) may also be inserted to open the artery. -Coronary artery bypass surgery-This is surgery to create a new path for blood flow around the blocked artery.
Recovery: What should you expect after a heart attack?
When you have a heart attack, one of the most important things you can do is seek medical help right away. Time is a muscle, so the faster you get treatment, the better your chances of survival and limiting damage to your heart.
Once you’re stabilized and on the road to recovery, there are some things you can expect. Most people are hospitalized for a few days after a heart attack, during which time doctors will work to reduce your risk of another heart attack and help you begin the healing process.
You’ll likely be prescribed medications to take long-term, including cholesterol-lowering drugs, blood pressure medications, and aspirin. You’ll also need to make lifestyle changes, such as quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and getting regular exercise.
Prevention: How can you prevent a heart attack?
Heart attacks are not just a problem for older people. About 1 in 4 heart attacks happen in people younger than 65 years old. You can help prevent a heart attack by making healthy lifestyle choices and getting regular checkups and preventive care.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States. Every year, about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. So if you think you have a heart attack, don’t wait—call 9-1-1 right away.