There is nothing scarier than a heart attack – neither for the patient, nor for the person witnessing it. It is a serious medical condition whereby the heart’s supply to blood is cut off, usually by a blood clot. Heart diseases are becoming increasingly common owing to poor lifestyle choices, lack of attention to your body, stress, no time to exercise, etc. India has seen one of the highest number of heart disease related cases across the world and according to current estimates, might even top the list. According to study conducted by the Indian Heart Association, it was concluded that 50% of all heart attacks in India were caused in men under the age of 50.
Symptoms Of An Impending Heart Attack:
While regular medical check-up is of utmost importance, it is equally important to recognize if a person is going to have a heart attack.
Here’s a list of signs of heart attack that should never be ignored –
1. Chest Pressure –
A pressure or tightness in the chest is the most common warning sign of heart attack. People tend to ignore this pain, sometimes terming it as flatulence. However, if you are experiencing a pain in your upper chest, consult your doctor immediately.
2. Pressure In Other Parts Of The Body –
Pressure or pain in the other parts of your body like shoulders, arms or the back may be a symptom of heart attack
Fatigue & Weakness – If you feel tired constantly even without exerting much energy, it could be because of loss of blood flow to the heart.
3. Dizziness & Cold Sweats –
Your brain does not get enough blood flow for functioning properly if you have poor blood circulation. This may result in you feeling dizzy or break out in a cold sweat. This is a dangerous sign and needs to be dealt with immediately.
4. Cold & Flu –
This is the most uncommon symptom for a heart attack, however, in many of the cases, it is recorded that the person had developed cold and flu like symptoms just before the heart attack happened.
5. Feeling Out Of Breath –
If the blood circulation to your lungs is poor, you will be unable to breathe enough air and will feel out of breath. If the condition persists for more than a few days, get in touch with your doctor
6. Nausea –
Other symptoms of heart attack include nausea, heartburn, indigestion or abdominal pain
Emergency Tips During Heart Attack:
Be prepared. If you’re with someone who is having a heart attack, it is important to take immediate actions. Remember, panicking will only make the situation worse.You can use the following emergency tips in the event of a heart attack –
Call the hospital immediately:
- Although your first impulse will be to drive the patient to the hospital yourself, it is wise to wait for the ambulance.
- That way, the Emergency Medical Services (EMS) can start the treatment on the way to the hospital itself
- If you are the one having a heart attack, drive yourself to the hospital only if it is your last / only option
- While you wait for the paramedics to arrive, have the patient lie down or sit upright, and keep them calm. It is important for you to stay calm as well in order to not induce further panic in the patient
- Have the patient chew on an aspirin (unless they are allergic)
- If the patient stops breathing, you or a qualified person should perform CPR immediately. If you have never performed CPR, the hospital operator will guide you till your ambulance arrives
Tips To Prevent Heart Attack:
While it is impossible to control this, you can reduce your chances of getting a heart attack by maintaining a healthier lifestyle.
Here’s a bunch of things you can practise –
- Quit smoking. If you are a heavy smoker, see your doctor who can recommend methods for quitting the addiction including nicotine replacement
- Monitor your cholesterol levels and blood pressure regularly. Get immediate medical attention if they are beyond normal levels
- Control the intake of salt, cholesterol and opt for a low fat diet
- Enrol yourself in some form of workout program like aerobics. People beyond the age of 50 need to consult their doctors about the kind of workout routine they should practise, especially if they have lived sedentary lives
- Doctors advise ingestion of aspirin regularly as it reduces the tendency for blood clots and reduces the risk of heart attacks. This practise should strictly be followed as prescribed by a specialist
- Lose weight if you are obese. People who are overweight are more susceptible to heart diseases than people who are not
- Keep your blood sugar within normal levels
- Restrict your alcohol consumption
- Try to stay calm. Stress is one of the biggest factors leading to heart attacks. Try to maintain a healthy balance between your professional and private life
While heart attack comes unannounced, it is always wise to be prepared. The following might help you in dealing with an emergency situation to a certain degree –
- Memorize all the symptoms and call EMS immediately if they present themselves
- Keep a list of all the emergency numbers handy – your doctor, close relatives, EMS etc
- Make sure that your family and friends are prepared in the event of the attack
- Design a heart attack survival plan that will contain a list of all the medications you are currently on, what medications you are allergic to, contact information. Make sure that you and family members have a copy each of this plan
- Make arrangements to care for your dependents in case of an emergency
When you and your family learn about heart attack, you can prepare yourself and prevent an emergency situation from occurring. Can you be sure that no one will suffer a heart attack just because you’re prepared? No. But you’ll be doing the best you can to reduce the risks. Let us know more ways of preventing and preparing for an impending heart attack in the comments section.