Recognize the Symptoms Before a Heart Attack Hits You

Cardiovascular diseases are world’s number one killer. It killed 17.5 million people in 2012 -- that is 3 in every 10 deaths. Of these, 7.4 million people died of ischaemic heart disease and 6.7 million from stroke.
Ischemic Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease) is a blockage or narrowing (stenosis) of the arteries that supply blood to the heart muscle, often due to a buildup of fatty plaque inside the arteries. A severe enough blockage may cause a heart attack.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense -- even not all heart attacks begin with the sudden, crushing chest pain that often shown on TV or in the movies. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person. Some people can have few symptoms and are surprised to learn they've had a heart attack. If you've already had a heart attack, your symptoms may not be the same for another one.

Before a heart attack hits you hard, certain warning signs could help you avert a critical situation. Be wary of them. It is important for you to know the most common symptoms of a heart attack. Recognizing the warning signs and acting quickly can definitely save a life.

You may be having a heart attack if you feel:

  • Chest pain or discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center or left side of the chest. The discomfort usually lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain. It also can feel like heartburn or indigestion. The feeling can be mild or severe.
  • Upper body discomfort. You may feel pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, shoulders, neck, jaw, or upper part of the stomach (above the belly button).
  • Shortness of breath. This may be your only symptom, or it may occur before or along with chest pain or discomfort. It can occur when you are resting or doing a little bit of physical activity. 
  • Sweating. Although you can do nothing about sweating in hot conditions, sweating copiously even when it is cool enough warrants attention. If you observe uncommon sweating, see the doctor.
  • Slurring of speech. Well, if you’re finding it difficult to speak out your words properly be cautioned. Difficulty in speaking coherently is another sign of heart attack, a serious one in fact. Check with people around yourself to see if they are able to understand your speech. 
  • Feeling unusually tired for no reason, sometimes for days (especially if you are a woman).
  • Nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) and vomiting.
  • Light-headedness or sudden dizziness.
  • Any sudden, new symptoms or a change in the pattern of symptoms you already have (for example, if your symptoms become stronger or last longer than usual).

The more signs and symptoms you have, the more likely it is that you're having a heart attack. Learn the signs, even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out. Heart attack is a life-and-death emergency -- every second counts. Fast action can save lives, and maybe it’s your own.

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