A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery becomes clogged with a clot or plaque. The heart muscle cannot receive the oxygen and nutrients it needs. The area of the heart supplied by this artery begins to die. If steps are taken to open this blockage, cardiac muscle can be preserved.
Cardiac Warning Signs
Shortness of breath, chest pain, arm or neck pain and reduced ability to exercise are possible signs of cardiac problems. Anyone experiencing these symptoms should call their family physician right away.
If you believe you are having a heart attack, a trip to the emergency room where the patient can be treated with "clotbusters" and can quickly undergo a catheter procedure or surgery is warranted. Quick response can reduce the damage from the heart attack and result in a better outcome for the patient.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
• Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting several minutes.
• Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms. It may be located in the chest, upper abdomen, jaw or inside the arms or shoulders.
• Chest discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
• Anxiety, nervousness and/or cold, sweaty skin.
• Increased or irregular heart rate.
• Feeling of impending doom.