Warning Signs of A Heart Attack

May 5, 2014Comments Off on Warning Signs of A Heart Attack

When one mentions the word, “heart attack”, everyone seems to think of someone clutching their chest and having difficulty breathing before actually losing consciousness. In reality, however, this is not always the case. In some instances, a heart attack can be so instantaneous that the victim just suddenly falls unconscious, just like in the case of a Sudden Cardiac Arrest.

Now, while those who have medical knowledge would know that a heart attack and SCA, or Sudden Cardiac Arrest, are not one and the same the common person would not readily know the difference. This is one of the reason why many bystanders are quite hesitant to provide assistance to someone who might be suffering from either. That being the case, it is a good idea to make sure that you know the difference between the two.

In a situation involving a heart attack, a patient would usually have a number of signs and symptoms. This would include chest discomfort that lasts for more than a few minutes. In most cases, the discomfort radiates from the center of the chest, and could go away for a few minutes before coming back. Patients who have gone through a heart attack describe the feeling as squeezing sensation as well as a feeling of fullness.

Aside from chest discomfort people who are about to get a heart attack would also feel an uncomfortable sensation in other parts of their body such as the jaw, the arms, the back, or the neck. There are those who report a tingling sensation in the said areas while some might feel a general weaknesses on these body parts. Gripping objects can be a problem for some of the patients about to get a heart attack.

Shortness of breath and lightheadedness are also some of the signs that a person is about to have a heart attack. He or she could also break out into sweat and become nauseous.

So how does a heart attack differ from a cardiac arrest?

In a heart attack, what happens is something blocks the arteries leading to the heart. This interrupts the supply of oxygen to the heart muscles causing the affected portion to suffer from tissue necrosis. On the other hand, cardiac arrest involves the regular beating pattern of the heart. In a cardiac arrest, something interrupts the normal electric impulses that maintains the regular beating pattern of the heart. This “hiccup” in the pattern can actually rob other vital organs of the timely delivery of the oxygen that they need which, if not dealt with properly and in a timely manner, can also lead to tissue necrosis.

Since most people have a hard time distinguishing between a heart attack and a sudden cardiac arrest, the best way to deal with this situation is to treat as if the patient is suffering from a Sudden Cardiac Arrest, which happens to be the more serious of the two. Now, if you would like to make things easier, having an AED unit around would be the best move. An AED, or Automatic External Defibrillator, is a portable device that can guide even the most unaware of how to handle a patient suffering from what could be a heart attack.