Knowing the signs of a heart attack can play a significant role in the possible outcomes and treatment as numerous heart attacks start slowly and may not even include chest pain.
“Many men think their symptoms are a sign of something else, like heartburn, so they do nothing,” says Peter Ofman, MD, a Steward Health Care cardiologist. “Even a man who already had a prior heart attack may not recognize his symptoms, as each attack can be dramatically different.”
Here are some steps to help you in becoming heart smart:
Know the signs. Chest pain is the most common symptom, but if you are having a heart attack you may also have pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach; shortness of breath; and other symptoms such as nausea or light-headedness.
Pick up the phone immediately. Call 911 within the first five minutes of the attack to receive treatment quickly. Many heart attack treatments work best when given within an hour of the attack.
Get a ride. You’re better off taking an ambulance than having someone drive you to the hospital or trying to drive yourself. Emergency workers can start treatment on the way to the hospital, re-start the heart if it stops beating, and relay your information to the emergency department before you get there.
Ask about medication. If you have a heart condition and carry nitroglycerin pills to be taken in case of a heart attack tell the person helping you. They can ask emergency personal if you should receive the medication as you wait for help.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Men
When it comes to heart attack symptoms, men may experience the following symptoms:
- Discomfort or pain in the center of the chest – many times, it feels like pressure or squeezing that may last a long time, or go away and come back
- Discomfort or pain in the jaw, arms, back, neck, or stomach
- Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
- Cold sweat
- Nausea or vomiting
- A fear of impending doom or death
If you, or a family or friend, suspect you are having an attack, don’t delay − call 911 immediately.
To find a doctor or schedule an appointment visit Steward DoctorFinder™ or call 1-800-488-5959.