Heart attack: what are the warning signs?

Most people think of a heart attack as a sudden event. But in reality, there are often warning signs that something is wrong. If you know what to look for, you can get help before it is too late. Here are the most common warning signs of a heart attack.

1) Chest pain or discomfort. This is the most common symptom of a heart attack. It can feel like a squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of your chest. It may last for more than a few minutes, or go away and come back. It can be mild or severe.

2) Pain or discomfort in other areas of your upper body. This includes your arms, shoulders, neck, jaw, or back.

3) Shortness of breath with or without chest pain.

4) Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.

What are the leading causes of heart attacks?

The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease. This is a condition where plaque builds up in your arteries and makes them narrow. This can reduce blood flow to your heart muscle and cause a heart attack. Other causes include:

  • A blood clot that blocks one or more of the coronary arteries
  • A spasm of a coronary artery
  • An abnormal heart rhythm

If you think you or someone else may be having a heart attack, it is important for you to seek medical help right away! Time is critical when it comes to treatment. The earlier you get help, the better the chances are for recovery in the long term.

Heart attacks happen when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to your heart muscle is blocked or reduced. A complete blockage can cause a heart attack. Oxygen-rich blood flows to your heart muscle through the coronary arteries. These arteries can be blocked by plaque, a clot, or spasm. A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you think you are having a heart attack, call for help right away! Heart attacks often happen suddenly, but they may also start slowly with mild pain and discomfort.

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