The lack of blood flow to the heart can lead to serious damage of the heart muscle. This can be life-threatening and calls for immediate help. There are four, easy to remember symptoms that might be signalling the condition.
If you are unsure about you or someone else having a heart attack, look for the four Ps:
- Pain in the chest
- Pale skin
- Pulse that is rapid and weak
- Perspiration (sweating).
The pain can make the chest feel like “it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object”, according to the NHS.
It is usually continuous and the pain can radiate from your chest to your jaw, neck, and arms.
Heart attack pain also doesn’t go away and mostly lasts more than 15 minutes. It can even sometimes persist for hours.
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However, many people – mainly women – don’t experience severe chest pains, only discomfort that can often be mistaken for indigestion, NHS warns.
This can make determining a heart attack tricky, but the important tell-tale sign is the combination of symptoms beginning with P.
It can be hard to properly pinpoint what you’re feeling and what to do when you are unwell.
So if you feel very bad and suspect you are having a heart attack, call 999 for help.
Whilst you wait for the ambulance to arrive, the NHS suggests chewing an aspirin pill as it helps to thin the blood and improve its flow to the heart.
After the ambulance arrives, the next steps will depend on the seriousness of the heart attack.
The two main treatments, provided by the hospital, are surgery that helps to restore the blood flow to the heart and medicines used for dissolving blood clots.
You can also be administered heparin injections that are used to prevent further blood clots and oxygen which reduces the risk of heart damage.
After you suffered a heart attack, it might be necessary to introduce a new routine involving lifestyle changes and medicine such as statins into your life.
You may be advised to follow a healthy diet, start exercising and to stop smoking.
These new changes will help reduce your risk of another heart attack or prevent your heart disease from progressing.
They will also help to gradually restore your physical health, so you can keep going about your day to day activities as normal.