If some of the heart muscle dies, a person experiences chest pain and electrical instability of the heart muscle tissue.
This MNT Knowledge Center will cover information about how and why heart attacks occur, how they are treated, and how to prevent them.
- During a heart attack, the heart muscle loses blood supply and is damaged.
- Chest discomfort and pain are common symptoms.
- The risk of a heart attack increases when a man is over 45 and a woman is over 55.
- Smoking and obesity are big factors, particularly in the at-risk age range.
Heart attacks are a serious form of heart disease, with many different causes.
There are clear symptoms of a heart attack that require immediate medical attention.
A feeling of pressure, tightness, pain, squeezing, or aching in the chest or arms that spreads to the neck, jaw, or back can be a sign that a person is having a heart attack.
The following are other possible signs and symptoms of a heart attack occurring:
- crushing chest pain
- shortness of breath called dyspnea
- face seeming gray in color
- a feeling of terror that life is ending
- feeling awful, generally
- feeling clammy and sweaty
- shortness of breath
Changing position does not alleviate the pain of a heart attack. The pain a person feels is normally constant, although it may sometimes come and go.
As heart attacks can be fatal, it is vital to recognize the warning signs that an attack is occurring.
While the symptoms listed above are all linked to heart attacks, there are four warning signs listed by the American Heart Association (AHA) as being crucial signs of an attack. These include:
- discomfort, pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest that lasts several minutes or resolves then returns
- pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, back, stomach, or jaw
- sudden shortness of breath
Other signs can include a cold sweat, a sick or nauseous feeling, or being lightheaded.
When a person has these symptoms, the emergency services should be called immediately.
There are two types of complications that can happen following heart attack. The first occurs pretty much straightaway and the second happens later on.
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