Learn to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack.

Image of Man holding chest and concerned woman

Heart attacks and other forms of heart disease are the leading cause of death in the United States, so learning to recognize heart attack symptoms is critical. The sooner you identify your symptoms, the more quickly you can get treatment, and the greater your chances of survival.

The most common cause of a heart attack is a blockage of one or more of your coronary arteries, which cuts off blood flow to the heart. Symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The pain may spread to your shoulders, arms, back, neck, teeth or jaw.
  • Lightheadedness, fainting, cold sweat or nausea
  • Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
  • Heart palpitations
  • Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue

You may have just one or several of these symptoms. Don’t wait for dramatic symptoms; for instance, chest pain with a heart attack can range from mild discomfort to excruciating pain. Or you may have some of the other symptoms and no chest pain at all (having symptoms without chest pain is more common in women). Older patients and patients with diabetes often experience milder symptoms, so they and their loved ones should be especially alert for heart attack warning signs.

What to do if you think you or a loved one is having a heart attack

Call 911 or have someone drive you to the emergency room.Getting medical help as quickly as possible can reduce damage to heart tissues.

Some sources recommend taking aspirin at this time to help keep the blood from clotting. However, aspirin can interfere with many medications, so call 911 first and ask for their recommendation after listing any medications you take.

Going to the emergency room during the COVID-19 crisis

If you have any of the heart attack symptoms listed above, do not hesitate to go to the emergency room because you fear getting infected with COVID-19. Covenant HealthCare is taking extraordinary measures to keep any patients with COVID-19 symptoms strictly separated from other, non-COVID patients. Patients are screened for symptoms before entering the Covenant Emergency Care Center.

Please do not ignore heart attack symptoms! Our Emergency Care Center is safe, and we’re here for you, now and always.

Posted Date: 5/12/2020

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