Do you know how to recognize the signs of heart attack in someone you are right in front of? If so, what will you do?
Heart attacks are often viewed as intense, sudden events that end in a clumping fall to the ground. Heart attacks, also known by myocardial Infarction, are slow and often overlooked. 7/10 Singaporeans can’t recognize the signs and symptoms of heart attacks when they happen to them or their loved ones.
How to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack
Heart attacks usually start slowly and are often accompanied by mild pain and discomfort. These signs are often overlooked and can prove fatal. It is crucial that you recognize them immediately.
- If you have any questions, call 995 or ask someone close to you.
- Feel the discomfort in your chest.
It is possible to feel pressure, pain, or a pinching sensation in your chest. It can last for several minutes before it subsides. The pain is likely to return.
Upper body discomfort
It is possible to feel pain radiating from your neck, jaw or arm(s), or your upper stomach.
Some people may not feel any chest pains. Shortness of breath, especially in women, can be a symptom that is not associated with chest pains. This is a common symptom that is often ignored or not taken seriously.
You may feel cold sweats, nausea or lightheadedness.
These are all symptoms that can accompany a heart attack.
Do the symptoms differ in women?
Both men and women experience the same symptoms. Women are more likely than men to experience chest discomfort and may dismiss the symptoms. Many women attribute their symptoms to acid reflux, the flu, or discomfort that comes with growing older.
Minutes count. Call 995.
It is possible to save your life by acting quickly. Call 995 if you’re unsure if your heart attack is real. Paramedics will immediately begin treatment if the symptoms indicate a heart attack. This is the fastest and most effective way to receive potentially life-saving care.
While waiting for an ambulance, what are the dos and don’ts?
Aspirin is a good choice, unless you have an allergy. This helps to thin the blood and prevents blood clots in the major artery of the heart from growing larger, which will increase your chances of surviving a heart attack.
You should take nitroglycerin. This medication can help to widen blood vessels and improve blood flow to the heart, providing temporary pain relief. You can take nitroglycerin while you wait for emergency assistance if you were previously prescribed it. You will still need to be assessed at the emergency department immediately after you receive nitroglycerin.
Don’t cough too often: There is a common urban myth that coughing can help with a heart attack. Although it may restore your heart rhythm, it won’t do anything during a heart attack. This is because of blockage.
Don’t apply pressure to the chest. If the person is still breathing and talking, then CPR is not necessary. CPR should not be attempted if the heart rate has dropped below a certain point. This is known as cardiac arrest.
Who is at greatest risk of having a heart attack
Both men and women can develop cardiovascular diseases, especially after menopause. It’s not a disease that affects only the elderly. Lifestyle factors are a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. There are steps you can take to reduce your risk.
What can I do reduce my risk of heart attack?
You can lower your chances of suffering a heart attack by making lifestyle changes that lead to a healthier lifestyle.
These are some lifestyle recommendations:
- Stop smoking
You are at greater risk of having heart attacks if you smoke. It can be difficult to quit a long-standing habit. However, professional support is available. QuitLine 1800-438-2000 is a free toll-free helpline offering counselling to those who wish to quit smoking. If you are around people who smoke, it can be dangerous to inhale second-hand smoke.
- Keep a healthy diet
Healthy eating habits can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and help to control risk factors like high cholesterol, diabetes, and obesity. Natural foods are high in vitamins, minerals, fibre, and low calories. Increase your intake of vegetables, whole grains, milk, poultry, fish and vegetable oils, as well as nuts. Avoid processed foods and beverages with high sugar levels. To avoid eating too many meals and gain weight, limit the amount of food you eat.
- Lower your cholesterol
Atherosclerosis is a condition in which there is a high or low level of bad cholesterol. This can cause fatty deposits to build up in the arteries walls, increasing the chance of having a heart attack. Reduce your intake of trans fats, saturated fats, and cholesterol to lower bad cholesterol. Regular exercise can increase HDL cholesterol (good cholesterol).
- 150 minutes of exercise per week
Research shows that moderate-intensity activity of at least 150 minutes per week can lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and help maintain a healthy body weight. All of these activities can help lower your chances of having a heart attack.
Start slowly if you haven’t exercised for a while. Then, gradually increase your intensity with more vigorous activities like running. Research shows that people who exercise moderately have a longer life expectancy, and are less likely to die prematurely if they live in a sedentary lifestyle.
- Keep a healthy weight
Consult your doctor if you’re concerned about being overweight. A dietitian may be able to help you create a low-calorie, nutritious diet. Avoid jumping on fad diets. They are often unsustainable and can even prove to be harmful to your long-term health. It is safer and more effective to lose weight slowly, while maintaining a healthy diet and regular exercise.
- Reduce stress
Stress is often referred to as the silent killer. It can cause heart disease by triggering overeating and bad lifestyle habits. Poor quality sleep can also be a result. Mindful meditation, deep breathing, and yoga are some ways to reduce stress.
- Limit alcohol intake
Moderate alcohol intake is safe for your heart health. However, excessive drinking can lead to irregular heartbeats, high cholesterol, and increased risk of developing cardiomyopathy. Limit your alcohol intake to two drinks per day.
Prevention is better than treatment. Regular screening of your heart can identify hidden problems and potential heart disease risks. This will allow you to act before you are at risk for a heart attack. Talk to a cardiologist about the appropriate tests for you, based on your personal health history.