How To Survive A Heart Attack: 5 Steps To Take, And 8 Major Symptoms To Recognize It

Lifestyle & Health

March 2, 2018 17:02 By Fabiosa

Those who have never had a heart attack may think that someone who's having it will drop to the floor dramatically, like in a scene from a movie. But in reality, heart attacks almost never look like this. In fact, it may not be easy to recognize you're having a heart attack, as not all people who are having one experience intense chest pain.

A significant portion of heart attacks is "silent", meaning they don't produce clearly perceptible symptoms. Many people, even those who do get symptoms, don't seek immediate medical care.

READ ALSO: 7 Common Signs And Symptoms Of A Heart Attack And Other Heart-Related Problems

How can you save your life if you're having a heart attack and no one is around? Firstly, it's important to know both classic and atypical symptoms that a heart attack may produce. Secondly, you should also know how to act if you realize you may be having a heart attack. There's a strange myth circulating on the Internet, according to which coughing can stop a heart attack. This is absolutely untrue; the first thing you should do in such events is call 911 or have someone make the call.

Below we list the symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if you think you are having one:

Symptoms of a heart attack

Most people know that one of the major symptoms of a heart attack is intense chest pain. This pain may come and go, but it's not relieved by rest.

Other common symptoms that may manifest during a heart attack include the following:

  • pressure, tightness, or squeezing in the chest;
  • shortness of breath;
  • feeling lightheaded and dizzy;
  • fatigue;
  • nausea and vomiting;
  • a sensation that feels like heartburn;
  • breaking out in cold sweat.

Contrary to popular belief, intense chest pain isn't always felt during a heart attack. This is especially true for women and people with diabetes. Sometimes, pain may be felt in areas of the upper body other than the chest. These may include arms, shoulders, neck, lower jaw, and upper back. Some heart attack survivors say they also felt tooth pain or a headache.

READ ALSO: High Blood Pressure Has Been Redefined, Making Almost Half Of Adult Americans Hypertensive

What to do if you suspect you may be having a heart attack.

If you think you're having a heart attack, do the following:

  • call 911 or your local emergency service number immediately;
  • don't drive yourself to the ER, as you may lose consciousness on your way there;
  • if you have some aspirin at hand and you aren't allergic to it, take a pill to prevent clotting (doctors recommend to chew it, so it will have a faster effect);
  • try to remain still and calm before the ambulance arrives;
  • avoid exposure to cold if possible.

Don't delay getting medical help if you suspect a heart attack. This is a situation when every minute counts. The earlier you get treatment, the better are the outcomes.

Source: Everyday Health, HealthXchange, Duke Health, MedicineNet

READ ALSO: Fast Heart Rate: 11 Possible Causes And When To Worry


This article is purely for informational purposes. Do not self-medicate, and in all cases consult a certified healthcare professional before using any information presented in the article. The editorial board does not guarantee any results and does not bear any responsibility for harm that may result from using the information stated in the article.

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