It’s important to talk with your doctor any time you experience what you think may be symptoms of a serious health condition. That’s especially true when the condition is heart disease and what you’re experiencing may be warning signs of a heart attack or indications that one is underway.
A heart attack occurs when the blood supply to a section of the heart muscle is blocked. Deprived of blood for too long, that tissue will die. Consequently, taking prompt action is critical. It may help minimize the damage to your heart muscle and, in the case of a major heart attack, save your life.
One of the challenges in responding properly and promptly to the signs of a heart attack is that they may seem unrelated to the heart. That’s why every man—and their loved ones—should know these five main symptoms of a heart attack:
- Pain, pressure, or discomfort in your chest
- Jaw, neck, stomach, or back pain or discomfort
- Nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat
- Pain or discomfort in either arm or shoulder
- Shortness of breath
It’s important to note that these symptoms may occur together or separately and that any one of them may indicate you’re having a heart attack, even if it’s the only one you experience.
Some of these symptoms may occur with other conditions, of course. For example, indigestion may cause discomfort in the chest, various lung conditions may produce shortness of breath, and certain illnesses may cause nausea or vomiting.
So, you may be tempted to write these signs off as nothing to be concerned about. But it’s much better to treat them as warnings of a possible heart attack and find out they aren’t than to ignore them and find yourself facing a major medical emergency that may cause long-term damage to your heart or even result in your death.
Take Action Before a Major Heart Attack Strikes
In some cases, a heart attack is sudden and intense. However, most begin with mild discomfort or pain that intensifies over time. That’s why you have to listen to your body and talk with your doctor right away if you experience any of the symptoms above, even if they’re mild or infrequent.
If they’re moderate to severe—or you’re just not sure how to gauge them—you should call 911 immediately. That’s typically the fastest way to get the care you need, as opposed to asking someone to drive you to the hospital. In fact, having emergency medical services (EMS) personnel come to your location may result in you getting crucial treatment as much as an hour sooner than if you travel to the hospital. And with a heart attack, every minute matters.
Concerned about your heart? Take Baptist Health’s Heart Risk Assessment today.
Get Regular Checkups to Promote Good Heart Health
In addition to seeking medical attention when you experience symptoms or face a medical emergency, it’s also a good idea to get regular checkups. Your doctor may assess your health during your visit and also recommend any testing that’s appropriate based on your age and general health—things like blood draw to test your cholesterol level.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States. But it’s a condition that may be prevented or controlled to minimize the risk of a heart attack.
Learn More About Heart Care with Baptist Health
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