As problematic as it may sound, but it is a fact that many people suffer from cardiovascular diseases. You will be shocked to know that a New Zealander dies every ninety minutes due to heart disease. One of the most common heart conditions that people experience is heart attacks. The general perception is that heart attacks are fatal. And this is somewhat true. But, people can survive them, too, and go on to live a long life.
Acting quickly is one of the best ways to survive a heart attack. But before we dive into what steps you need to take, let’s look at some common heart attack symptoms that can help you detect one.
The Symptoms of Heart Attacks
Contrary to popular belief, not all heart attacks begin with chest pain. Rather, the symptoms vary from person to person. In fact, if a person has diabetes, they might not exhibit any symptoms at all. That being said, let’s have a look at some signs and symptoms related to heart attacks.
- Shortness of breath: This may or may not be accompanied by chest pains.
- Unusual sensations: These include excessive cold, sweating, or dizziness.
- Discomfort: Various body parts like arms, back, and neck may start paining, or you may experience general discomfort.
- Chest pains: This is the most commonly observed symptom. People experience pain in the center of the chest that lasts for a few minutes.
Now that we have looked at the signs and symptoms of a heart attack let’s discuss the steps you need to take, in case, you experience one.
Things To Do In Case Of A Heart Attack
Call Emergency Services
Calling 111 is the easiest way to have emergency medical services (EMS) arrive at your place. If there are people around you, ask them to call for emergency services instead of driving to a hospital. The emergency responders have ACLS training (Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support training) and can revive people suffering from heart attacks by providing the right care and treatment. Similarly, if you are alone, call the emergency service number and explain the situation at hand, if possible. In any case, calling EMS at your place is much safer than driving to the hospital by yourself.
If you have aspirin at hand, take a normal dose if you are conscious. During a heart attack, the blood starts clotting rapidly. Aspirin slows the process of blood clotting and even helps minimize the size of any formed blood clots. However, don’t take aspirin if you are allergic to it or if your doctor has asked you to stay away from it. Consuming aspirin provides an extra time window for emergency responders. Once they arrive, inform them about the aspirin dose you have consumed.
If you have a history of heart diseases, your doctor must have prescribed you nitroglycerin. If you think you have a heart attack, take a dose as prescribed. Additionally, make sure that you don’t consume another person’s nitroglycerin dose as it can turn out to be more harmful.
If the person suffering from a heart attack stops breathing, you should immediately administer Cardio Pulmonary Resuscitation (CPR). It helps keep the blood flow active and can increase the chances of survival. Stop the CPR once the person starts breathing or a medical professional arrives at the scene. Similarly, if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it instead of proceeding with CPR.
Heart attacks cannot be controlled. However, you can decrease the risk factors associated with heart attacks through certain lifestyle changes. Here’s a look at how you can minimize the chances of suffering a heart attack.
Reducing The Risk Factors
To prevent the risk of a heart attack:
- Give up smoking or minimize your exposure to passive smoking.
- Similarly, control your alcohol consumption.
- Control your blood cholesterol levels by keeping a check on your weight. If you are overweight, start exercising, and live a healthy lifestyle.
- Keep your blood pressure in check. Get your blood pressure checked once a year.
- Control your sugar levels if you have diabetes. People suffering from it are at a greater risk of heart attacks.
- If you are suffering from stress, try seeking professional medical help. You can also try mind-relaxing techniques like yoga and meditation.
Having a heart attack is an unfortunate experience. While they cannot be prevented, they can be handled better, which can save the life of the person. Similarly, by minimizing the risk factors, you can reduce the chances of even suffering from one. Your heart is important. Make sure you take the utmost care of it.