Unfortunately, there are times when the symptoms can be vague or less pronounced, and people do not act immediately because the symptoms are not “as serious” as they should be. According to the American Heart Association, one in five heart attacks is “silent” and has very few symptoms, if any.
To receive prompt and proper medical care, you need to recognize the signs of a heart attack and seek medical help at the first suspicion.
When chest pain is a classic symptom of a heart attack, in addition to (or instead of) chest discomfort, other types of symptoms occur. These may include:
- Profuse sweating.
- Confused breathing.
- Radiation pain in the jaw, neck, shoulders or arms.
- Heartburn-like symptoms.
- Feeling of impending doom.
If you think that you or another person may have a heart attack, you need to get medical help as soon as possible. Even if the diagnosis is not confirmed, it is better to act faster than risk your life.
Myocardial infarction, also called myocardial infarction (MI), is the most severe form of acute coronary syndrome (ACS). Like all forms of ACS, a heart attack is usually caused by rupture of an atherosclerotic plaque inside the coronary artery (arteries that supply oxygen to the heart muscle). This rupture leads to the formation of a blood clot, which causes blockage of the artery. The heart muscle, supplied with a blocked artery, begins to die. A heart attack is diagnosed with the death of part of the heart muscle.
The consequences and dangers of a heart attack
To a large extent, the outcome of a heart attack depends on how much of the heart muscle has died out. This is largely determined by which coronary artery is blocked, where the blockage occurs in the artery, and how much time has passed before the artery was reopened.
An obstruction in the beginning of the artery will affect a greater part of the heart muscle than blocking the lower part. A blockage that lasts for five or six hours will cause significantly greater death of the heart muscle than one that resolves within two or three hours.
A heart attack can cause dangerous problems with a heart rhythm: arrhythmia, tachycardia (heart palpitations) and fibrillation (irregular heart palpitations). After a heart attack, scar tissue of the heart can lead to instability and recurrent arrhythmias.
Cardiac arrest and sudden death are risks that are present both during an acute heart attack, and to a lesser extent after recovery.
Why are the first watches crucial?
A person who has a heart attack needs emergency medical attention. With quick and aggressive medical treatment, a blocked artery can usually be opened quickly, thereby preserving most of the heart muscle.
If treatment is carried out for three or four hours, significant muscle damage can be avoided. But if treatment is delayed for more than five or six hours, the part of the heart muscle that can be saved is significantly reduced. After about 12 hours, the damage is usually irreversible.
Most cardiac arrests occur during the first few hours after a heart attack. If cardiac arrest occurs in a hospital, then there is a high probability of survival. Unfortunately, 47 percent of sudden cardiac deaths occur before hospitalization.
Prior to the arrival of qualified doctors, it is very important to provide first aid:
- Remove or unfasten tight clothing so that people can breathe freely.
- Provide maximum rest to the victim, if necessary, offering a sedative drug, for example, “Valocordin”.
- Try to reduce the burden on the heart by laying the victim so that the upper body is higher.
- Chew one tablet of aspirin. It dilutes blood, improving metabolic processes in the affected area of the heart muscle.
- If possible, try to check the victim’s blood pressure and pulse rate every 5-7 minutes.