Know and Correctly Respond to Signs of Heart Attack or Stroke

It is easy to pass it off as indigestion, strained muscles or fatigue, but there are signs of a heart attack or stroke in progress that should never be ignored. Most think of a heart attack as someone falling over unconscious without a heartbeat. However, a person can often begin to feel the symptoms of blocked arteries long before a total blockage occurs. Strokes can have mild to severe symptoms with it being easy to pass off the mild ones as something else.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Many heart attacks are caused by blood vessel blockages. Some blood vessels in the heart can become completely blocked quickly. This would cause an acute myocardial infarction (heart attack). The heart does not have any nerves that sense pain so all pain felt during a heart attack is referred pain (felt somewhere else). Most are aware of the left arm pain that radiates. However, there can be pain in the jaw that can even mimic tooth pain. Pain can be in the upper back too. In most cases a radiating pain is felt.

Then there is the tight, squeezing feeling in the chest that gets worse with activity. It can be as mild as the feeling one gets from overindulging at Thanksgiving dinner to feeling like an elephant is standing on the chest. Many men already have issues with reflux disease, and those same men often ignore good dietary choices leading them to believe the pain is just another bout of indigestion.

Sweating for no reason is another symptom. Pain in the stomach area and shortness of breath are also symptoms of which any of them can come and go. Partial arterial blockage may yield some mild referred pain. However, it may be a matter of minutes that one may go from mild symptoms to being dead. This is why any pain even slightly associated in the mind as possibly coming from symptoms of a heart attack should have the sufferer seeking emergency medical help immediately.

Women may have no pain whatsoever. Diabetics may have altered sensations of pain during a heart attack too. Women often complain of headaches, dizziness and fatigue. If there is no concrete explanation for such symptoms, emergency medical help needs to be sought.

Stroke Symptoms

Stroke symptoms may be a little easier to recognize but can differ depending on the type of stroke. There are two kinds of stroke. Both are caused by blood vessels in the brain. An ischemic stroke is caused by a blocked blood vessel. A hemorrhagic stroke is caused by a leaking blood vessel. Small strokes called transient ischemic attacks (TIAs) may have symptoms that come and go.

Whenever tingling, blurred vision, a sudden headache, trouble with balance or walking or trouble thinking or speaking occurs, suspect a stroke is in progress. Getting medical help fast lowers the chances of permanent paralysis or brain damage occurring. Look in a mirror and smile. If the smile droops on one side, it is indicating possible stroke paralysis. Try to raise both arms over the head. Usually a stroke affects one side of the body. Speak a normal sentence to someone and have them report of any slurred or irregular speech.

Getting help fast is the key. Do not try to explain away symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. Waiting can lead to permanent damage or death. This is where the 'better safe than sorry' saying comes into play. Your good health is more important than anything that may be delayed while having symptoms checked out by a doctor.


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