What Causes a Heart Attack?
By knowing the symptoms associated with a heart attack and seeking emergency assistance right away, sudden cardiac death can be prevented. Since approximately 50 percent of the people who die of cardiac arrest do so within an hour of the onset of symptoms, seeking medical assistance immediately is the key to survival.
Cardiac arrests are frequently the result of coronary artery disease (CAD), aka coronary heart disease (CHD). This event occurs when there is a sudden blockage in the blood flow to the heart. This blockage deprives the heart of oxygen. Without emergency treatment, the heart muscle is unable to pump and starts to die.
Heart Attack Statistics
According to The Heart Foundation, every year in the U.S. there is an estimated 720,000 new cardiac arrests suffered and another 335,000 recurrent attacks. When an individual suffers a heart attack, any delay in treatment can be fatal.
What are the Warning Signs of a Cardiac Arrest?
The symptoms of a heart attack may be intense and come on quickly, or they may gradually build.
Potential warning signs of a cardiac arrest include:
- Shortness of breath.
- Heartburn or indigestion.
- Pain, squeezing or pressure in the chest — especially if it is in the center and/or slightly to the left.
- Suddenly feeling clammy or sweating.
- Pressure or pain in the upper part of the body — jaw, neck, stomach, back, one or both arms and shoulders — particularly if in the left extremity.
- Feeling lightheaded or suddenly becoming dizzy.
- Nauseousness or vomiting.
- The discomfort associated with a heart attack usually lasts for several minutes, it may go away and then return. It may worsen with emotional stress or physical activity and the pain will remain upon resting.
- Women are more prone to experiencing shortness of breath, widespread symptoms around the upper body, unusual fatigue, stomach symptoms and/or heavy sweating than men are.
- Some people having a cardiac arrest experience vague symptoms. They may feel a sense of impending doom or an overall feeling as if something is wrong.
Prevent Sudden Cardiac Death — Call 911
The best way to get to the hospital is by calling 911. Once the ambulance arrives, the Emergency medical services (EMS) technicians can evaluate the health of the heart attack sufferer and begin treatment.
Besides receiving treatment while on the way to the hospital, people arriving by ambulance are treated quicker at the hospital than those arriving by car. In addition, the patient may be given an aspirin to chew, when aspirin is taken during a cardiac arrest, the damage to the heart can be limited.
Every minute matters, which is why calling 911 before doing anything else is vital. EMS technicians are trained and have the equipment necessary to address a heart that has stopped beating. When treatment is given quickly enough, a heart attack can be stopped, preventing sudden cardiac death.
If you believe that you have a cardiac problem, or you know that you have one, contact Tri-City Cardiology today. Dedicated, board-certified cardiologists are readily available to help you with your cardiovascular needs. Furthermore, should a cardiac emergency arise, we have a world-class emergency heart treatment center. If you would like to schedule an appointment, please call the office today at 480-835-6100. If you prefer, you can complete our online contact form by clicking here.