You would think that if you were having a heart attack there would be no mistaking it. The idea itself stirs up images of clutching your chest, knees bucking as you gasp for air. However, a study at Trinity College found that only 35 percent of those suffering a heart attack experience those extreme symptoms. It is actually more more common for those experiencing myocardial infarction to feel more subtle signs of discomfort.
These more low-key symptoms can be harder to decipher as being heart related, making it more unlikely that the sufferer will go see a doctor right away. This can be detrimental since once a heart attack begins the the heart muscle begins to die, and within 3-6 hours it could be completely gone. Prediman K. Shah, MD, says even going less than two hours without getting treatment could be disastrous.
Here are some signals you should be aware of when it comes to monitoring your heart. Knowing the small signs of a heart attack could make the difference between life and death.
- You may begin to experience a cold sweat. This is your body reacting to the stress of a heart attack coming on. If you begin to feel clammy for no reason, it could be a signal that something is wrong with your ticker.
- Nausea is another sudden signal that something is wrong. The onset of a heart attack causes your parasympathetic nervous system to accelerate. This can trigger nausea and vomiting. In order to decipher this from food poisoning or the flu, remember that the symptom will happen out of nowhere, without warning.
- You hear how sometimes people go to the ER with heartburn thinking that they are having a heart attack and think how could those two be mixed up, right? Well, during a heart attack it is actually common to experience heartburn symptoms. The lack of blood flowing through your arteries can cause a burning feeling in your chest or throat, similar to the feeling you get after a spicy meal. If other signs like nausea and sweating begin to display themselves, it is probably necessary to get to a hospital.
Along with these signals, if you begin to suddenly experience shortness of breath, pain in your left arm or extreme fatigue, you might be having a heart attack. It is always better to be safe than sorry and go to an emergency room right away to be treated.
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