With more than 600,000 people having a heart attack every year in the U.S., it important that everyone prepares for it. Naturally, that preparation should come in the form of proper dieting, high physical activity levels, and similar preventative measures. Nevertheless, it is equally as important to know how to recognize a heart attack as it occurs. This is because early action is going to increase the victim’s chances of survival exponentially. If they do not realize that they have a heart attack, however, those chances will plummet. So, what are some obvious signs that a person has a heart attack?
When someone is first experiencing a sudden heart attack, it is because a coronary artery got blocked and the blood is not getting through the heart muscle. Consequently, the heart is not receiving enough oxygen-rich blood. Once that happens, people tend to experience “angina” which is the medical term for chest pain caused by reduced blood flow in someone’s heart.
Meaning, it is practically impossible to undergo a heart attack without experiencing some form of chest discomfort. Hence why this symptom is often going to be the first one that shows. Therefore, staying alert and taking every chest-related issue will increase the odds of surviving a heart attack seriously.
Left Arm Pain
When somebody has a heart attack, their nervous system will send pain signals from the heart to the brain. Unfortunately, this is where “referred pain” has a high chance of happening. For those unfamiliar, referred pain means that the brain will misread where the pain is coming from. In case of a heart attack, the confusion almost always includes one’s left arm.
Thus, although their heart is sending pain signals, their brain is very likely to register this as pain coming from the left arm. According to a seasoned specialist for cardiovascular disease, Dr. Himachal Veligandla, most of his patients reported this symptom. And given how rare it is to randomly start experiencing shooting pains up and down someone’s left arm, it is clear that they should make this known and head to the hospital.
As with most other symptoms besides chest pain, one symptom alone does not exactly point to a heart attack. For instance, if a person is feeling lightheaded, there could be many causes that explain their problem. Those that are feeling lightheaded while also having chest pain, however, could definitely be in immediate and serious danger. The reason why this symptom raises concern when paired with chest discomfort boils down to blood pressure.
When an individual has chest pain that may be caused by a heart attack, their heart will not be pumping enough blood. As a consequence, their blood pressure will drop, and they may feel dizzy or lightheaded. So, the combination of symptoms is just as important as knowing which ones to look for.
If a person sweats during physical activity, the body is doing something that is extremely healthy and expected. In fact, according to Dr. Himachal Veligandla, those who do not sweat during exercise may need to be worried. In cases where someone begins sweating out of nowhere, however, there may be some concerns. If this happens to be paired with any of the symptoms mentioned above, that concern should be escalated, and they should go to an emergency room immediately.
When the body is at rest, there is no reason for it to sweat. Once it starts doing so, it means that it is going into overdrive to keep up with whatever is going on internally. Well, the heart failing to pump blood due to a blockage of an artery can be a reason. So, unexplained sweating that starts without an easily identifiable cause should be looked into immediately by medical professionals.
Coughing and Mucus
Once again, a symptom like coughing by itself should not trigger any heart attack alarms. If it comes with mucus that is pink or white, however, it could be indicating the condition mentioned above. The reasoning here goes back to the fact that someone’s heart is not pumping enough blood. Consequently, the blood that is not getting through has a tendency to go back into the lungs.
From there, the body tries to get rid of it by coughing it out of the system. Enter mucus. People who experience this will often have a prolonged cough that is hard to explain. Thus, visiting a hospital could prevent a major heart failure that could be looming.
If you experience any combination of these symptoms, don’t hesitate. Contact a medical professional immediately, because it could very well save your life.