Recognizing the very first signs of a heart attack can save your life or that of a loved one.
Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) describes the symptoms of a heart attack that start much earlier than most people realize. Even weeks before a full-fledged heart attack happens, warnings may appear. If we’re not vigilant, we may ascribe them to fatigue or a cold.
Do people experience heart attack signs differently?
Women often present different and more subtle signs of heart attack and may mistake them for the beginnings of the flu. Diabetics also face particular challenges: heart disease can sneak up with barely a warning.
What are the symptoms?
In addition to the classic red flags of a heart attack – chest pain – precursors may include:
- mild or intermittent chest pain
- heartburn or indigestion, especially if the sensation is recurrent
- short breath for no apparent reason
- flu-like symptoms, including paleness or sweating
- unusual fatigue, including disturbed sleep and a need to rest often
- uncharacteristic pain or soreness in the jaw, neck or shoulders – sometimes a squeezing pressure
- unexplained anxiety or fear – an instinct that something isn’t “right”
Even if one of these warning signs fades or disappears, it is relevant. Don’t ignore it!
What can I do?
These ideas can help you spot subtle symptoms.
- Keep a daily planner or calendar where you can easily jot down notes about how you feel every day. If you find yourself writing down the above sensations, call your doctor and discuss your risk for heart attack. There are many diagnostic tools available to determine whether or not you may be experiencing the early beginning of a heart attack.
- Write down the time that the symptoms began. This information can help health providers. The sooner a patient receives certain medications after the beginning of a heart attack, much damage can be prevented.
- When in doubt, call 911.