Common Heart Attack Symptoms
by Sue Estes, RN, BSN, Performance Improvement Nurse, Anne Arundel Health System
I examine and report cardiac data surrounding heart attacks and other cardiac events for a living. I review thousands of cases and wanted to provide links for folks interested in reading more about the topic. Heart attack symptoms, in both women and men, include:
· Shortness of breath.
· Nausea or vomiting.
· Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
· A fast or irregular heartbeat.
· Change in mental status (especially in the elderly)
· Numbness, aching, or tingling in the arm (usually the left arm)
· A sense of impending doom
...to the more typical symptoms of angina (chest pain)
· Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
· Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
The bottom line is: don't delay. Time = Heart Muscle. Unfortunately the average person waits 3 hours after symptom onset before seeking help.
Here are two useful links:
Women Specific link: https://www.cardiosmart.org/Healthwise/te78/17sp/ec/te7817spec
and general: http://circ.ahajournals.org/content/104/11/1212.full
For prevention: consider an evaluation of your cardiovascular risk; some of the evidence-based guidelines have changed, recently.
American College of Cardiology website (2014). Women and Coronary Artery Disease. Retrieved March 4, 2014.
MedlinePlus website (2014). Heart attack first aid. Retrieved March 4, 2014 from National Institutes of Health, U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Ornato, J.P. & Hand, M. (2001). Warning Signs of a Heart Attack. Circulation, 104, 1212-1213 Retrieved March 4, 2014 from The American Heart Association website.
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