Do you know the signs of a heart attack?
February is a month of love, a time to celebrate the ones that make you feel special. It’s also a time to recognize and celebrate your heart and its efforts in keeping you around for all the wonderful moments life has to offer.
In an average lifetime, the heart beats about 3 billion times. With all that hard work, it’s no wonder that occasionally things can go wrong. While the reasons for heart problems vary, if you were having a heart attack, would you know it? Here are some common signs to help you recognize when your heart might be in distress.
Chest discomfort – While men and women often have different symptoms, chest discomfort is the most common sign of a heart attack. This discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, or pain and this may last for a few minutes, come and go, or happen very suddenly.
Body discomfort – Chest pain is the most commonly reported symptom, but a potential heart attack can show signs in other parts of your body. Pain can happen in one or both or your arms, back, neck, jaw and even present as stomach discomfort.
Shortness of breath – This can happen suddenly, without reason or any other sign of pain.
Even if you’re not sure that you’re experiencing the signs of a heart attack, you should seek emergency assistance immediately. In the instance that something is happening, any hesitation to seek help can cause even more life-threatening damage to your heart.
Once you get to the emergency department, you can expect to receive initial testing including:
Standard tests - Blood pressure, temperature reading, and pulse check looking for any abnormal signs.
Blood work - Doctors will be looking for proteins that flow into your system during a heart attack.
Electrocardiogram – a painless test that checks the electrical activity of your heartbeat and displays the results on a monitor.
If any abnormalities are found on the initial testing, your physician will run through immediate steps for continued care which may include imaging, stress tests, and visits to a cardiologist for follow up care.
Experiencing a heart attack can be frightening, and can come with many lifestyle adjustments, but it’s also important to remember that you can live a normal life in the years that follow. Working with your cardiologist is essential in follow-up and preventative heart care. You’ll need to manage your risk factors like blood pressure, cholesterol and weight, and you may plan on attending cardiac rehabilitation and support groups to help you recover and gain insight into your condition. Healing can take time, for some people it may take a few weeks and for others it may take longer. No matter your condition, there are many resources available to ease your concerns and work towards a better quality of life.
Sturdy Cardiology Associates is one of the many practices that make up Sturdy Memorial Associates and is associated with Sturdy Memorial Hospital. The cardiologists at Sturdy Cardiology Associates are now accepting new patients.