Know the signs: How a heart attack might look

Know the signs: How a heart attack might look

Every 43 seconds, someone in the United States has a heart attack, many of which are fatal. On average, one American dies from a stroke every four minutes.

This makes heart disease and stroke the first and fifth leading causes of death, respectively, in the United States. It’s because of these statistics that Marshall Cardiology is not only committed to the treatment of heart and cardiac disease but also focused on the prevention of heart disease and stroke.

Marshall Cardiology has been an active participant in the Million Hearts® Initiative since 2013. Million Hearts is a national initiative with a goal for the prevention of one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017.

Prevention starts by educating yourself and knowing the warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack when you see them. Note that warning signs of a heart attack and stroke may be slightly different for women.

For Men:

  • Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

For Women:

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but also:

  • Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  • As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

If you or a loved one experience any of these symptoms, call 911. For more information or to schedule an appointment, call Marshall Cardiology at 304-691-8500.

Source:  American Heart Association

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Barry M. Wyant

Barry is the department administrator for Marshall Cardiology, a department of Marshall Health. He has 45 years of experience in health care management and is a member of the Medical Group Management Association, the American College of Cardiology and MedAxiom, the nation’s leading cardiovascular performance community.

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