Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, such as the “movie heart attack,” during which someone dramatically gasps, clutches her heart and drops to the ground. No one has any doubts about what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often the people affected aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are some of the signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
· Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
· Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
· Shortness of breath. This feeling may occur with or without chest discomfort.
· Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
If you or someone you are with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don’t wait longer than 5 minutes before calling for help. Call 9-1-1.
John and I spent yesterday at the funeral of his co-worker who had been writing off her symptoms to the flu bug she'd been fighting, even though there is history of heart disease in her family. She'd finally agreed to go see a doctor, but it was too late. It's incredibly sad that such an intelligent and gifted person is gone because she didn't realize what was happening.