Conditions

7 Early Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Sometimes, we’re not aware of what’s happening inside our body. And that’s even though our body is vigorously sending signals. But hey, you know men aren’t good at identifying signals. If we were good at that, we would understand women easier. But while missing something about a potential or actual partner isn’t something you should cry about, missing a signal from your body might be catastrophic.

So today I want to talk about the warning signs of a heart attack. I’ve heard many doctors and people in the health care industry say that “hypertension is the biggest killer in the modern world.” And they’re right. Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. In the United States, one in four deaths is due to a heart attack. Every year, around 600,000 people die from heart disease.

I’m sure you’re familiar with some of the warning signs of a heart attack. For example, pain and numbness in the arm. If you’re a fan of the Big Bang Theory, you probably remember when Howard was trying to fake a heart attack after lying to Bernadette. Or if you are a fan of How I Met Your Mother, you remember that Robin landed a helicopter after the pilot suffered a heart attack. He started mumbling and fainted just before that. So that’s another sign. But let’s refer to some of the warning signs as explained by the American Heart Association.

A heart attack can come out of nowhere, and if you aren’t prepared, it can be lethal. Here are seven signs that might help you survive it. If you act in time, your chances for survival increase drastically.

7 Early Warning Signs of a Heart Attack

Indigestion, nausea, and heartburn

Nausea happens all the time. It can happen as a result of a food allergy, for example. But if you experience the combined force of indigestion, nausea, and heartburn for a day or two, and they occur frequently, it’s time to visit the doctor. I don’t want to send you into panic mode. It might be nothing. But it’s always better to be safe than sorry. Also, nausea is a more common sign in women than in men.

Anxiety attacks and insomnia

Stress can cause insomnia on a daily basis. We all struggle with insomnia at times. But as with nausea and indigestion, if it happens frequently, check with your doctor. Heart diseases decrease oxygen levels in your body. And without oxygen, your body goes into another mode. Call it the mood swing mode. Your mood changes and you’ll be able to notice it right away. Anxiety attacks are among the first symptoms that something isn’t right.

Chest pain

My father is an excessive smoker. A year ago, he was feeling chest pain for a day or two. And he couldn’t sleep at night. He thought it was because of his cigarettes. And he was right. But he was very close to a heart attack. Luckily, he reacted in time. So, what I’m trying to say is that chest pain is often an indicator of a possible heart attack. In addition to chest pain, you might feel pressure or burning.

The pain usually starts in the chest area, but can move down or through the back. It can also move to the arm, as I discussed previously. Think of that Big Bang Theory scene. This symptom is more frequent in men than in women. Women can experience heart diseases without any chest pain.

Unusual sweating

It’s normal to sweat when you exercise. Or when it’s too hot in the room. But if you sweat for no particular reason, you need to check your heart. Your heart is working in overdrive, and it’s causing you to sweat. If this condition lasts for more than one week, immediately check with your doctor.

Aches and pain

We talked about chest pain, which is one of the most common signs of heart attack. And it all comes down to shortness of breath, which we will discuss later. But you can also feel pain in other areas of your body.

For example, pain can happen in your shoulders, in your neck, arms, and even your jaw. Whenever you feel pain that’s not an aftermath of an injury or recent activity, check with your doctor.

Excessive fatigue

Fatigue is a normal condition nowadays. We all feel fatigued at a certain point during the day. It can be mental or physical. However, when you feel bone-weary fatigue, consider it a warning sign of a heart attack.

This type of fatigue lasts for days, and will make simple and ordinary tasks look difficult, if not impossible. Your weak heart can’t perform all its tasks, and you feel fatigued. If you ignore it, it will only get worse with every passing day. So, check with your doctor.

Shortness of breath and dizziness

Last, but not least, is shortness of breath. As with fatigue, your weak heart can’t pump enough oxygen around your body. And the first place that it manifests is in your chest and lung area. You can’t breathe properly. The shortness of breath is usually accompanied by a headache. Women are more prone to this warning sign.

Causes of a heart attack

After carefully looking through the warning signs of a heart attack, we should also consider the causes. Take a look at these causes, and see what you can do to lower your risk. Here are the most common causes of a heart attack:

  • High cholesterol
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Abdominal obesity
  • Adverse psychological factors
  • Lack of daily consumption of fruit and vegetables
  • Lack of daily exercise
  • Alcohol

It’s worth noting that 90% of heart diseases occur due to one of these nine causes of a heart attack. And smoking might be the worst of them all. According to statistics, smoking one to five cigarettes per day increases the risk of heart disease by 38%.

Difference between men and women

I mentioned a few times that some symptoms are more prone in women, and some are more prone in men. There is a difference in the warning signs of a heart attack between men and women. For women, the most common sign is chest pain or discomfort. Women also experience nausea and vomiting, back pain, jaw pain, and shortness of breath.

What should you do?

When you experience one of the warning signs of a heart attack, the best thing you can do is check with your doctor. Learn the signs and check it out, just in case it is a heart attack. If you ignore the signs for more than two days, chances are you might end up in the ER.

So, make sure to check it out in time. Call your doctor or call 911 and let them know what you are feeling.

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