Heart attack or myocardial infarction is one of the leading conditions that take millions of lives worldwide. Heart attacks occurs when blood flow to the heart is not sufficient. It is generally due to a blockage in a vessel which leads to not enough amount of oxygen reaching the heart. The blockage is most often caused by the accumulation of fat, cholesterol and other substances which causes plaque to build up in the arteries(generally coronary artery) leading to the heart.
It is to be noted that not all display the same symptoms or the same intensity of symptoms. Some of the victims of heart attack do not display symptoms at all leading to silent attack. It is important that all of us know the warning signs of a heart attack as it can strike anyone at any point in time and proper first aid may save the life of somebody near and dear to you.
Some of the most common symptoms to watch out for are as follows:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness.
- Cold Sweat
- Heartburn/Abdominal Pain
- Pressure/Tightness/Aching sensation in your chest that spreads to your arms, neck , jaw and back
Some warning signs may occur many days before the attack itself. The earliest one may be recurring chest pain or pressure in your chest called “Angina” which is caused by lessened blood flow to the heart. Usually this pain is alleviated if you rest.
What to do:
If these warning signs are noticeable do not wait. Act immediately.
- Take Paracetamol, if recommended. Taking just one tablet can reduce the heart damage caused by a heart attack by preventing the blood from clotting.
- Call for emergency help: Call the emergency number and describe your condition they will send help right away. If you are quite far away from a hospital ask anybody nearby to drive you. It is not advisable to drive oneself as it puts us and others at risk
- While waiting for professional help take Nitroglycerin after asking the doctor.
If you see somebody else who you suspect might be having heart attack, here are the things to do:
If the person is lying unconscious on the ground first call for help. Then check his/her breathing and for the pulse of the patient. Only if there is no pulse and breathing should you begin with CPR.
If one isn’t trained in CPR this is the extent to which CPR should be done. If a person is trained in the art of CPR he/she can go onto open the passageway and try to normalize the breathing of the patient.