Heart attacks are one of the leading causes of death in America, with more than a million people in the US dying each year from a heart attack.
Why Heart Attacks Occur
Your coronary arteries are the main passageway for blood to enter your heart – your heart muscle requires a constant supply of oxygen from blood to keep it pumping.
If a blood clot forms inside your coronary arteries and your heart can’t receive the amount of oxygen it needs, a heart attack occurs and some of your heart muscle cells die in the process.
Your coronary arteries can form a blood clot if there is too much plaque buildup. When the plaque ruptures, certain blood particles rush to the area and form a blood clot around the plaque.
This plaque could build-up for many different reasons, including fatty matter and inflammatory cells.
Once you suffer from a heart attack, the damage is lasting. Depending on the size and area supplied by the blocked artery, the damage could result in death.
The amount of time between and attack and treatment is crucial to prevent any deathly damage to the heart.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
Common symptoms include:
– Discomfort, pain, or heaviness in the chest, arm, or below the breastbone
– Sweating, nausea, dizziness, or vomiting
– A burning discomfort in the jaw, back, throat, or arm
– Extreme weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath
– A feeling similar to heartburn
– Rapid of irregular heartbeats
These symptoms are much more subdued in women, who may not feel pain in their chest. It’s important to notice the less common signs of a coming heart attack as well to stay alert and cautious.
If any of these symptoms last longer than 10 minutes, call a doctor immediately.
How to Survive a Heart Attack
Your chances of surviving a heart attack drastically improve the sooner you call a doctor. The longer you wait results in more damaging being done to your heart.
Once the first sign of a heart attack is seen, a person could lose consciousness within 10 seconds, so acting quickly is extremely important, especially if no one is around to help you.
After you’ve called 911, begin by taking deep breaths. This will help bring much needed oxygen into your blood and to the heart.
With every exhale after your deep breath, cough hard as if you’ve swallowed some water that went down the wrong pipe. The coughing acts as a natural compression and helps your heart keep beating until medics arrive.
How to Prevent a Heart Attack
It’s best to try and prevent a heart attack before worrying about surviving one. If you suffer from a disease that increases your risk of heart attack, please follow the advice of your doctor.
Following these precautions will keep your heart healthy and lower your chance of heart attack:
– Stay active and exercise every day
– Eat healthy foods
– Lose weight
– Stop smoking
-Don’t participate in excessive drinking