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When it comes to life-threatening conditions, every second counts. Knowing the symptoms of a deadly condition such as a stroke or heart attack could therefore give you just enough time to call for medical assistance before it’s too late. Acting fast could save your life or the life of a loved one, so it helps to have a ” handy at all times.

Each year, thousands of Americans succumb to heart attacks, many of which are fatal. This article will look at common signs of heart attacks, so as to increase the chances of lessening heart damage and saving your life.

Who is at risk?

During a heart attack, blood clots block artery pathways in the heart, leading to interrupted blood flow to this vital organ – and eventual irreparable damage. As more time lapses without treatment, heart damage increases.

People with factors such as a family history of heart disease, smokers, physically inactive or obese individuals, people with high blood pressure, diabetic individuals and the elderly are generally more prone to heart attacks, and should thus be constantly monitored and have a medical answering service who can dispatch emergency treatment to their homes.

If given shortly after symptoms begin, artery-opening drugs such as angioplasty can stop a heart attack. To work effectively, these drugs must be administered within hours of the attack to aid the chances of a full recovery.

Symptoms and warning signs of a heart attack

Chest discomfort – Most victims experience sustained, crushing pressure to the chest as the earliest warning sign of a heart attack. This uncomfortable pressure may last for minutes at a time, before disappearing for a short while and appearing again. This chest pain may resonate to other areas such as the arms and shoulders, stomach, neck, jaw and back. In some women, chest discomfort may not occur at all, but rather extreme exhaustion, nausea or indigestion.

Shortness of breath– Another common symptom of a heart attract is unexplained shortness of breath, often accompanied by chest pain. Sometimes, the breathing difficulty actually precedes chest discomfort.  Other symptoms that may accompany the shortness of breath include cold sweats, nausea or vomiting, fatigue, nausea or indigestion.

Fast action by you or someone close to you can be the difference between life and death. Getting medical evaluation and treatment – regardless of your symptoms being minor – is the best thing you can do for your health. Instead of taking a wait-and-see approach until the symptoms get really serious, call in for medical help immediately if you experience any of the warning signs of a heart attack.

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