Heart attack is a serious issue and is the leading cause of death among mankind.
However, what to do if you’re alone and you suspect the symptoms of a heart attack? Let us first clarify what symptoms indicate an actual heart attack:
1) Fatigue. This is the most common symptom, and it may persist up to a week before the actual heart attack.
2) Chest pain. Remember that with women the pain may not be that severe, and not necessarily in the area of the heart – it can include jaws, shoulders, neck and upper breastbone as well.
3) Sweating and paleness. Both of these symptoms appear for no apparent reason.
4) Nausea and dizziness. Unlike women, men are generally not inclined to vomit before cardiac arrest.
5) Breathlessness, insomnia and anxiety.
Make sure to memorize these symptoms well! They may be your only chance of survival.
Now, here is a list what NOT to do if you suspect a heart attack:
1) Feel embarrassed at contacting ambulance. Some people don’t want to impose, and especially more so with important services like the ambulance. However, it is better to be safe than sorry.
2) Cough. There is a viral e-mail around that claims that coughing improves chance of surviving a heart attack. It does not, nor does any medical doctor prescribe this as a strategy for heart attack survival.
3) Take nitroglycerin. While nitroglycerin might help with angina, it is useless during a heart attack.
In the case you’re alone and cannot obtain medical help, memorize the following to optimize your chance of survival. Remember that the following steps should be followed even if have contacted an ambulance:
- Take an aspirin. This will prevent blood from clotting and the resulting damage. It is best to chew the aspiring and swallow it with water than to just swallow the whole pill.
- Try to relax. While this might irrational in such an extreme situation, trying to relax however possible will remove the unnecessary strain from one’s heart.
- Try to get warm. Cover yourself with blankets and turn on any available heaters.
- Get oxygen. Use canisters if you have them. If it’s not too chilly outside, open the window. Immediately extinguish any cigarettes that may be close.
- Use any pain medication available.
One last piece of advice. If you’re in emergency ward, make sure that you insist on seeing a doctor. A lot of people die as a result of being turned away in clinics with doctor claiming that it is “just stress” or “it will go away.” It might – but make sure it might.
References health.harvard.edu thesurvivaldoctor prevention