If something were to go wrong with your heart? Would you be able to know it?
The movies have dramatized heart attacks, in a particular manner. A man holds his chest and falls to the ground. Although that is a possibility, most of the times your heart is screaming through your rib cages, you just have to listen!
In this fast-moving age of the world, everyone is prone to a silent heart attack! Did you know that every 10 seconds someone suffers from a heart attack and as every minute passes this deadly ailment claims a life!
Charles Chambers, MD, Director of The Cardiac Catheterization Laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institute, very insightfully puts it
“If you’re not sure, Get it checked out”
Many of us are not aware of how a heart attack, rather a Myocardial Infarction happens; One could narrow it down to the obstruction of blood. There are several blockage factors however cholesterol and plaque are the top amongst the list. The heart consists of two main blood vessels, in which these miscreants lodge themselves, compressing the blood vessels and thereby restricting the blood flow.
The key to battle a heart attack is early detection, your heart is shouting on top of your lungs (pun intended) by providing these warning signs.
If you are wondering what are the signs of a heart attack that your body is trying to signal you as an alarm? Read on to understand the early signs of a heart attack (1)and how can one deal with them!
This is one of the most common signs, a blocked artery translates into a massive chest pain, a numbing pain that travels from your chest to the left side of your viscera or the body.
Chamber’s says “Everyone has different words to describe the feeling, from an elephant sitting on the chest to others saying it is like a pinching or burning feeling”
This feeling of pain generally last for a few minutes, and it can cause a feeling of lightheadedness, dizziness.
It is crucial to remember that it may even happen while your resting or even when you’re doing something physical.
It is an essential reminder to keep in mind that if the pain is brief and if applied pressure on the site- if it pains even more. It is mostly not a heart attack, yet it is suggested to go to the doctor!
Also, as mentioned earlier chest discomfort is a ubiquitous sign, but it may not happen to everyone, especially in the case of women. They may be silently experiencing one.
Irregular Heart Beat:
Most of us have experienced this from time to time while rushing through an empty road on high speeds, skydiving or any of the adrenaline-inducing activities.
Here we talk about when in a sedentary state if you have an irregular heartbeat it could point to you having the risk of a heart attack. It could beat at a higher rate or even at a slower pace.
If this out of beating rhythm often happens, even for a few seconds. It is strongly suggested to consult a cardiologist.
As Bufalino, MD, an American Heart Association spokesman says “ Most of the times this irregular rhythm could just be a reaction to a higher dosage of caffeine or lack of sleep, but if it happens on a regular basis, it could mean you might have atrial fibrillation, consult the doctor as soon as you can”
Yes you read that right! Snoring can be a not-so-silent warning sign to you!
You may think, everyone does it. Yes, they do.
It is very reasonable to snore a little while you snooze, take a nap however unusually loud, atmosphere-piercing sounds from your respiratory system can be a very loud sign to wake up.
This condition is medically diagnosed as sleep apnea.
Sleep apnea causes a lot of stress on your heart, those choking and gasping sounds during your snoring pauses your breathing causing a tremendous amount of stress being applied on your heart to pump blood.
It’s okay to break that sweat when you meet your date, after a vigorous exercise, or any strenuous physical activity.
Breaking a cold sweat for no reason could be a concerning situation it is recommended that you meet your doctor!
A cough that doesn’t take NO for an answer:
In most cases, it is not a reliable sign for heart attack, it could be attributed to smoking, pollution, and any other factors.
If the cough is vigorous and accompanied by a white or pinkish mucus it could be a fatal sign meaning your heart is depleting at an exponential rate.
This happens only when the heart is unable to sufficiently blood to the body, hence causing the blood to leak into the lungs causing the pinkish discharge.
Inflamed limbs, legs, ankles:
This is one of the tell-tale signs that your heart is not functioning as it should, it is unable to pump blood to your hind limbs causing them to inflame to unnatural lengths.
This causes the blood to remain stagnant and causing bloating in those regions. Heart failure could also pose a threat to the functioning of the kidney which is unable to remove the extra water, causing bloating in the body.
Crawling pain in the left side of the body:
This is also one of the most commonly caused warning signs of a heart attack!
The pain seems to be like a crawling(2) spider walking from your chest to the left hand. It is not necessary that the pain spread from the chest.
Chambers says “I have diagnosed a lot of people with an arm pain that later turned out to be a heart attack”
A piece of strong advice to someone having this pain is to call the emergency services if it persists for more than a few minutes.
Nausea/vomiting, Stomach pain:
I know what you are thinking, but sometimes after having my third burger for the day, sometimes I do feel this way.
It is true, stomach pain, nausea are common grounds to a lot of diseases, but most patients before experiencing a heart attack have complained about having one or more of these.
Albeit it is mostly observed more in women than men. It is better to be aware that these symptoms are also a possibility if they happen very commonly.
The worst enemy: It is a pervasive thing to be a little out of breath after climbing a flight of stairs, carrying your children or any of these kinds of activities.
If you are having a little more than an out of breath situation such as exhaustion, sweating and severe pain in the legs, this could be your heart crying out to you.
It is strongly advised to go to that doctor’s appointment that you have been postponing.
These little significant changes in your physical health are the markers for your heart’s health; if you have an ear willing to listen, you will understand the tremendous pain of your heart.
Fatigue and weakness of the body:
After a good day’s honest work, one is prone to this feeling. It may also happen if you skipped on that breakfast, stood up too fast from your chair.
Everyone is vulnerable to this feeling at some point however if there is a change in your body suddenly making you feel numb, fatigued and weak with a massive discomfort in the visceral regions/upper part of the body.
It is strongly suggested you sit down, relax and immediately go to the doctor.
This mostly happens because “it could mean that your blood pressure has dropped very low and your heart isn’t able to pump blood as it used to” Bufalino says.
You might be suffering from a fever, an explosive cough enough to burst your lungs, body aches.
Not only you, anyone could be fooled by the body into thinking the seasonal flu(3) causes them.
As Chambers says ” Don’t ignore these small signs, these could be instrumental in helping us detecting a heart attack”
So the next time when you have these symptoms, and they last for more than 12 hours it is advised that you take that trip to the doctor.
Throat or Jaw Pain:
By itself, these symptoms are not linked to a heart attack. They could just be caused by a cold, a temporomandibular joint problem (muscle problem!), a sinus infection.
If the pain starts with that discomfort in your chest, traversing to your jaw and throat, it could be clear that you have a heart attack.
Call emergency medical services and seek immediate medical attention.
This one of the most common symptoms experienced by someone who could be having a heart attack.
It just means that the heart has given up on pumping blood to the brain, which if left without taking any action can cause you to get unconscious.
If you ever feel this, it is strongly recommended to loosen your clothes and sit on a chair and drink water. FYI, call the emergency services as soon as you can!
Tips for helping people when they have a HEART ATTACK!
Heart attacks can be significant and their indications may frequently be uncertain or misleading however a mind ready to listen can save you!
A heart attack can be one of the scariest incidents of life. Though, if you know and identify the indications, and get timely help. You can recover soon from it.
Remind them to take their medications on time! Drugs related to the heart may assist the heart, and blood vessels work better.
Be attentive! It can be unimportant or severe and might remain for many months. Nevertheless, if a person is not happy all the time, this can lead to a weak heart, and it can be a little harsh on the heart. Know the indications of sadness and report any fluctuations to your doctor.
Be comforting! After a heart attack, it is essential to perform exercise daily
Be positive! It is vital to be positive and remain calm always. Many people who improve from heart attacks have to change their habits like eating, sleeping patterns. Especially if they are overweight, have cholesterol or high blood pressure.
You need to be inspired and positively quit smoking.
Don’t Hesitate, Be Vigilant!
Now that you are well versed with the warning signs of a heart attack be alert for yourself and others.
According to a study conducted at John Hopkins Medical Center, most of the deaths caused by heart attacks could have been prevented if they were detected early.
As the age old saying goes “Prevention is better than cure.”
In this modern age, one may say “Be aware of the time you need a cure.”
Even a deadly disease like a heart attack can be completely cured and nipped at the bud if you are looking for it in the right place.
These are a milder call to your health and lifestyle. Change, adapt and live. Change your lifestyle, adapt to the ever changing structure of healthy choices and live accordingly for a healthier lifestyle.