Heart attack

Heart attack: Know the symptoms, dos and don’ts

Health

Heart attackMost of us know that the risk of getting a heart attack increases as we age. However, the incidence of young people suffering a heart attack is increasing. Truth is, heart attacks can strike at any age. Unfortunately, people in India are now getting heart attacks at a much younger age. In fact, it is said that Indians have a heart attack almost a decade earlier than the West.

One study conducted in a large tertiary care centre in Chennai showed that 22 percent of heart attacks occurred in people younger than 40 years of age and 5 percent occurred in patients who are still in their twenties. In a tragic incident, news agency ANI reported that a twenty-one-year-old boy Bandaru Vaishnav, the son of former Union minister and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) MP Bandaru Dattatreya died after suffering a heart attack on Wednesday.

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, is life-threatening. It happens when there is a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of your heart muscle. While most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease, there are certain factors that increase the risk of a heart attack such as a family history, age, obesity, stress, lack of physical activity, tobacco, health conditions like diabetes, high blood pressure, etc.

Heart attack symptoms may vary from one person to another. However, knowing some of the most common signs of can be beneficial, helping you to take appropriate steps in time. Common heart attack signs may include

  • Shortness of breath
  • Sudden pain or discomfort in the chest that doesn’t go away – the pain may spread to your neck, jaw, back, left or right arm
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

It’s possible to have a heart attack without experiencing a chest pain, but you should seek immediate medical help if you’re having symptoms related to a heart attack.

What to do if someone is having a heart attack

If you think someone is having a heart attack, here’s a list of dos and don’ts listed by the National Health Portal, India:

Dos

  • The patient should be made to sit down, rest, and try to keep calm.
  • Loosen any tight clothing.
  • Ask if the patient takes any chest pain medication for a known heart condition, such as nitroglycerin, and help him take it.
  • If the pain does not go away with rest or within 3 minutes of taking nitroglycerin, call for emergency medical help.
  • If the person is unconscious and unresponsive, call for emergency and should begin CPR

CPR(Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation) is an emergency lifesaving procedure, a combination of –

  • chest compressions that keep patient’s blood circulating
  • and rescue breathing that provides oxygen to patient’s lungs.

Generally, CPR is stopped when the person revives and starts breathing on its own or when the medical help arrives.

Don’ts

  • Never leave the patient alone
  • Don’t wait to see if the symptoms go away
  • Do not give the person anything by mouth unless a heart medication has been prescribed.

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