Heart disease is the #1 cause of death for men and women. Heart attacks don’t always happen like they do in the movies. A heart attack can happen suddenly or silently, but many people experience warning signs hours, days, or weeks in advance. Knowing these signs and symptoms can help save your life or the life of a loved one.
What should I do if I have symptoms of a heart attack?
If you experience any of the above symptoms, it is important to seek immediate medical attention. The longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damage you can do to your heart. Here are the steps you need to follow:
Call 911: Call 911 immediately and ask for emergency help.
Take aspirin: If you have aspirin on hand and are not allergic, chew and swallow a 325-milligram tablet while waiting for emergency services. It can help reduce the risk of blood clots and improve blood flow to the heart.
Rest: Try to stay calm and rest while you wait for emergency help to arrive. Avoid physical activity that can strain your heart. Sit back, relax, and take deep, slow breaths.
Provide information: When the emergency team arrives, provide as much information as possible about your symptoms, medical history, and medications you are taking.
Symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain, chest discomfort, pressure, shortness of breath, nausea, sweating, dizziness, lightheadedness, discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. It is important to take the symptoms of a heart attack seriously and seek immediate medical attention.
How to reduce the risk of heart attack
There are several things you can do to reduce your risk of a heart attack. Some of these are:
Maintain a healthy lifestyle: Eat a balanced, healthy diet, exercise regularly, and maintain a healthy weight. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity most days of the week.
Quit Smoking: If you smoke, you should quit as soon as possible. Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, and quitting can significantly reduce your risk.
Manage health conditions: Keep conditions like high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes under control with appropriate medications and lifestyle changes.
Reduce stress: Manage stress through relaxation techniques such as meditation, yoga or deep breathing exercises. High levels of stress increase the risk of heart attack.
In addition, it is important to visit your health care provider regularly to monitor your health and assess your risk for heart disease. Following these steps can reduce the risk of heart attack and promote heart health.