No one plans to experience a heart attack. However, the CDC warns that every 40 seconds, an American suffers a heart attack. This translates to around 790,000 individuals each year in the United States who experience a heart attack. Knowing how to decrease your risk factors for a heart attack can help you prevent an episode. Furthermore, understanding the warning signs of a heart attack can allow you to seek proper medical attention before a heart attack causes permanent damage.
10. Know What a Heart Attack Is
A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, happens when fatty deposits build up on the walls of coronary arteries. When this occurs, a clot may form and prevent blood flow to the heart. As the blockage deprives the heart muscle of blood, the muscle begins to die. Therefore, it is crucial to call 911 immediately upon noticing symptoms of a heart attack in order to prevent permanent heart injury. The American Heart Association notes that while some heart attacks come on suddenly at high intensity, most develop slowly, with symptoms worsening over time.
9. Be Aware of Heart Attack Symptoms
One of the most critical components of heart attack survival is being aware of the signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction. A heart attack may present as a feeling of pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest. In some cases, you may notice pain or an uncomfortable sensation in your arms, back, neck, or jaw. Other symptoms of a heart attack may include shortness of breath, a cold sweat, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness. If you experience any of these symptoms, it is critical that you dial 911 without delay.