Heart attack and heart disease is one of the top killers in the United States. There are different symptoms according to your age and even your gender. Nevertheless, even if you feel a couple of these symptoms mentioned below, make sure to call in either 911 or visit the ER as soon as possible.
There are some very common risk factors, some of them risk factors are truly out of our control like our age, sex, family history etc. However, many of these are actually in our control like smoking, obesity, our diet, lack of exercise, high intake of cholesterol or alcohol. We should do everything we can to work on these risk factors to save ourselves and our loved ones from severe trauma. There are certain routine and lifestyle changes that one needs in order to keep oneself safe, like exercising more frequently or having a healthy diet or even finding ways to channel our mental stress in a more positive way. This will definitely have a positive affect on you, your mental health and eventually reduce your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. However, risk factors don’t necessarily mean that you will have a heart attack in near future. Having discussed this, being aware of the symptoms could really help you understand if you were to go through a situation.
1. Chest Pain
This is the most well-known symptom that you’re having a heart attack. This happens in both men and women. The pain may feel like pain or sometimes may feel like extreme pressure on your chest, a feeling of squeezing or even fullness.
The pain comes and goes and lasts for quite some time. It can even go on for days! Every person describes the pain in a different way but if one were to divide it between genders, men have usually described it as an elephant sitting on their chest whereas women have usually felt a sensation of squeezing or a feeling of fullness.
You should always take time out to get it checked as chest pain always occurs whenever there is less oxygen in your body.
2. Jaw, Neck or Back Pain
Both the genders generally have some sort of pain in the arms, neck and back. The classic and well-known symptom of pain radiating down the left arm is more common in men. However, women generally feel pain more in their lower abdomen, lower chest or their upper backs. Some people may even experience extreme pain in their jaw and neck. If you tend to have unexplained pain in your back or torso, you should get it checked by a professional immediately.
3. Hot/Cold Sweats
If you feel you suddenly break down in cold or hot sweats, or if you feel like your skin is getting clammy, along with other symptoms of heart attack, get it checked as soon as possible as this is not normal.
In women however, the case is slightly different. Some women may be going through menopause and be experiencing hot flashes. It can become difficult to differentiate between the two, so it is best to get it checked by a professional.
Lightheadedness actually happens when your blood isn’t able to reach your brain. There are many causes for this and it may make you feel like you might faint or pass out if you stand up really quick or even when you’re doing a normal activity. You may feel like you’re about to pass out and may even throw up. It is always worth getting your check checked if you feel lightheaded but if it is coupled with a few other symptoms of heart attack, you should go to a professional immediately.
5. Indigestion, Nausea and Vomiting
There are a lot of reasons for you feeling indigestion, nauseous or even like you might vomit. You may feel like you are full even when you’re on an empty stomach. All these symptoms are there only because your digestive system may be getting a lot less blood than it needs and is not functioning as it should. It is harder in the case with elder people as they are in general more at risk for indigestion, so it becomes a little hard to point out a single reason.
This symptom on its own is not as problematic, however, having it coupled with other symptoms really needs a visit to the ER.
6. Shortness of breath or Exhaustion
This comes irrespective of gender; you may feel extreme shortness of breath even when trying to complete the smallest of tasks. If this symptom occurs without explanation and has a sudden onset, it is best to get it check out as it may mean you’re suffering from a heart attack. You may feel unexplained weakness and extreme fatigue along with this as well. It might feel like a flu is oncoming but that may not be case if this symptom is coupled with a few other symptoms. It is best to get it check from a professional.
7. Odd heart beats
Feeling like your heart has skipped a beat or having a racing heart at times is completely normal. There may certain reasons behind it like maybe having too much of caffeine, being anxious, being physically active, or not having enough sleep. However, if it happens continuously without any specified reason, it may be time to pay your doctor a visit. Abnormal heartbeats can really put a person in an awkward position and the person may feel anxious because of it, especially if it is coupled with some other symptoms of a heart attack as well.
8. Swollen Legs, Feet and Ankles
Swelling basically occurs when your heart is weak and cannot pull your blood against the gravity pull. This leads to the blood backing up which makes your feet, legs and even ankles swollen. You’ll notice a swelling in both extremities, not just one side. Swelling, even if it is one leg, should be checked out and treated and is it might be due to a blood clot which can later move on to an eventual stroke.
One might feel bloating as well since the salt concentration in your body is changing during a heart attack and your kidneys might not be able to cope.
Usually, having a cough is a sign of heart trouble or a weak heart in general, not always an impending heart attack. It can even be a symptom of heart congestion as well. Since your heart is weak, it may allow certain fluids to build up in your lungs. Which is why we cough to clear things out.
However, if you know that you have a weak heart and have been having coughing issues for a long and consistent time, it’s always a good idea to take some time out and get it checked. However, it you notice a pink or red mucus, you should definitely get yourself checked immediately.
10. Snoring – Sleep Apnea
Snoring itself is not a problem but it can point towards a bigger problem. Sleep apnea basically puts a lot of strain on your heart and if you already have a weak heart, it might trigger a heart attack.
If you live alone and have nobody to comment on your sleeping patterns, you should check for other ways like snoring so loud that you wake up, or gasping for breath mid sleep, or waking up with a headache and feeling sleepy throughout the day. If you feel this is the case with you, you should get yourself checked as soon as possible.
11. Feeling constantly confused
Confusion usually occurs when your blood chemistry is changing drastically, and some chemicals are completely out of the normal ranges. Your brain might not also be getting enough oxygen or blood for it to function properly.
There may be other reasons for you feeling confused, but heart failure might be one of them as well. If you feel a severe memory loss or disorientation, you might want to get yourself checked out by a professional or pay a visit to the ER.
The main problem that arises when trying to recognize a heart attack is that these symptoms usually occur due to many other reasons as well. However, you don’t have to feel all these symptoms all at once for you to call in a doctor. Try getting yourself checked out even if you feel a couple of them at once. Heart attack prevention Is surely better than an actual heart attack.