Know the signs of a heart attack

October 28, 2020 | by Edward-Elmhurst Health
Categories: Healthy Driven Hearts

Heart disease — including heart attacks — remains the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States.

Every year, about 805,000 Americans have a heart attack (about one every 40 seconds) according to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Of those 805,000 heart attacks a year, the CDC estimates about 605,000 are first-time heart attacks and that 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent, meaning the damage is done but the person does not realize they had a heart attack.

Heart attacks affect men and women, and can occur in people of all ages, so it’s important to know the warning signs:

  • Chest discomfort, pain or pressure (also known as angina). The pain is often in the center of the chest and can last for a few minutes or may go away and then come back. It can feel like fullness, squeezing, pain or uncomfortable pressure.
  • Discomfort or pain in other areas of the body such as the jaw, neck, back, stomach or one or both arms. Women are more likely to experience heart attack symptoms in other areas of the body than men.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea/vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting, extreme fatigue.

If you experience any heart attack warning signs, call 911 so an experienced EMS team can begin treatment and get you to the nearest emergency room.

Making lifestyle changes, such as adopting a heart healthy diet and exercising, can help reduce your risk for heart disease. The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, healthy fats and lean proteins and encourages people to get at least 30 minutes of exercise a day for at least five days each week. If you smoke, quitting can also help decrease your risk for heart disease.

Properly managing other health conditions, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and high cholesterol, can help reduce your risk. If you have any of these conditions, be sure to take your medications as prescribed and inform your physician of any changes in your condition.

Your heart is in good hands when you choose us for cardiovascular care. Learn more about our high-quality heart care.

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