78 Early Heart Attack Symptoms : Preventing & What To Do

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ost people think that heart attack is always indicated with the feeling of pain in the chest. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen, even for some people, pain doesn’t even exist. Heart attack is a condition when the blood to the heart is blocked so it doesn’t get enough. The blood clot can be caused by many factors, and here are some people who are at a higher risk of suffering heart attack.

You Are Risky If 

  1. High-Fat Foods. Consuming foods rich in saturated fat will increase the cholesterol levels in the blood, which means an increasing in heart attack’s risk as well. The fat can form plaques that clog up the blood vessels and interrupt the blood flow to the heart
  2. Smoking. Nicotine and carbon monoxide coming from cigarettes can stimulate straining on the heart causing it working faster. That is why both the smoker and someone who inhales the smoke can get the risk. There are also some other chemicals that can damage the arteries of the coronary.
  3. Diabetes. When the blood glucose is increasing, the coronary arteries can get damage, which can also lead to heart attack. (Read : Best Vegetables For Type 2 DiabetesDiabetes Symptoms & Long Term Effects of Type 2 Diabetes)
  4. Hypertension. Uncontrolled high blood pressure can make the coronary arteries weak and the risk of getting a heart attack will increase. The higher the blood pressure, the higher the risk.
  5. Lacking Exercises. People who are lacking of exercise would lead to obesity and this would later lead to diabetes and heart attack.
  6. Obesity. As has been mentioned above, obesity can lead to diabetes because obesity people tend to eat rich-in-saturated-fat foods, which means the cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes risks can increase.
  7. Age. The older you are, the higher your risk of getting heart attack. Also, this diseases happens mostly on men than women, considering that men is not as good as women in handling stress, which is also one of the causes of health disorders, while women are said to be protected by the pre-menopause hormones.
  8. Alcohol. Completely leaving alcohol would do best for your health especially your heart as this unhealthy drink is causing hypertension and high cholesterol. The worst is, once you drink alcohol, it’s hard for you to maintain a healthy lifestyle, so it’s not only the time to manage, but you must stop now.
  9. Genes. Having one or more family members from the first degree such as the parent and brothers experiencing heart attack means that you are at risk at the same disease too.

Typical Heart Attack Symptoms : Most Frequent

The symptoms of heart attacks can be different from individuals, but knowing the typical ones might be helpful to recognize when the heart attack comes.

  1. Feeling Discomfort in the Chest. This could be the most common symptom, but the meaning of discomfort can be different from one another. You might feel it like a pressure, feeling of fullness or even squeezing.
  2. Breathing Difficulty. Also called as shortness of breath, it is a condition when you are gasping and hard to breath. It might happen when the heart attack or the chest discomfort comes or it can even happen without it.
  3. Feeling Pains in the Jaw, Head and Tooth. Heart attack can influence the jaw, head and tooth to feel the pain. Sometimes you can also feel it in the back. In some cases heart attack happen even with just these pain types without the chest discomfort.
  4. Vomiting. These symptoms happen when you are feeling so sick leading to vomiting.
  5. Feeling Sick. Before vomiting, nausea is the first symptom. This condition might be similar like flu and for women it could come like indigestion. This symptom is less typical than others, but it exists.
  6. Sweating. Commonly, sweating in a heart attack is a kind of cold sweat, according to some people.
  7. Stomach Pain. Stomach pain is also a sign of heart attack, especially if it happens in your upper abdomen, right in the middle. The pain can be in a feeling of discomfort or stabbing.
  8. Pain in the Arms. When the heart feels pain, it can be spread to the arms, shoulders and the fingers. The most common pain happens in the left side, tough the chance of having in the right side also exists.
  9. Indigestion. This symptom can be described as heartburn and as has been mentioned above, this happens in the upper abdomen. You can feel burping or belching just like you are getting indigestion.
  10. Pain in the Back. Not only the arms or the shoulders, the upper back is also influenced by the heart to feel the pain. The upper back is the area between your blades and shoulders.
  11. Feeling Ill. When you are sick, you will feel extremely down and fatigue. Some people even are even feeling lightheaded sometimes followed with fainting.
  12. Getting a Sudden Panic. Feeling panic unreasonably is also one of the causes of heart attack. Sometimes it also happens before the heart attack comes.
  13. Feeling Lightheaded. Feeling out of balance is not always a heart attack symptom, but when it happens suddenly without reasons along with the chest discomfort and gasping of air, you need to check your condition.
  14. Less Symptoms. The worst above all is when the heart attack silently comes so you are unaware of it. Diabetes mellitus patients tend to experience the less symptoms of heart attack even without the chest discomfort.

Additional Heart Attack Symptoms

Many symptoms are mild, but are recognizable, but some symptoms are not even related to heart attack since they are just uncommonly found.

  1. Getting Unstoppable Cough. Cough that won’t quit and is producing mucus in pink or white can be related to a heart attack especially if you are already at risk.
  2. Getting Swollen in the Legs and Ankles. When the heart can’t effectively pump blood, the ankles, legs and feet can get swollen.
  3. Bloating. The feeling of bloated in the stomach is caused by the sodium and water in the body that can’t be removed by the kidney since the heart is getting damaged. This is also caused by the backing up of blood in the veins because the heart is not pumping fast.
  4. Racing Heart Beat. When you are nervous or panic, racing heart beat normally happens. However, when the irregular heart beat unreasonably comes, it could be a sign of heart attack.
  5. Feeling Pain in the Throat. A combination of heart discomfort and pain throat can be caused by a heart attack. A single pain in the throat without the pain in the chest maybe unrelated with heart problems.
  6. Getting Exhausted. A simple thing like feeling exhausted easily after doing something, which you can do that easily without problems before, could be a significant symptom of heart attack. Feeling exhausted unreasonably and it continues for days is another symptom.
  7. Unusual Snoring. Snoring loudly caused by a brief stop breathing, which results in a gasping sound when you are sleeping should be taken to awareness. This condition can make your heart to be more under pressure.
  8. Confusion. You might not notice when it happens, but your relative might realize the look of confusion in yourself and you might also feel some disorientation or experience memory loss.
  9. Lacking of Appetite. When the stomach doesn’t get enough blood, it leads to some digestive problems that make you lacking of appetite.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Women

The signs of heart attack are different between men and women. Some classic symptoms are not always happening to women, tough some of them do exist.

  1. Pain in the Upper Body. Women commonly get pain in the jaw, arms, neck and back as some symptoms of heart attack and they can happen suddenly or intensely. Sometimes even can make you wake up when you are sleeping.
  2. Tightening in the Chest. Although this is a very classic heart attack symptom, the pain in women is different. It can happen in just anywhere in a form of feeling fullness or tightening or squeezing.
  3. Pressure in the Stomach. The pain stomach in women is said to be a kind of pressure as if an elephant is sitting on it. So it is more than just heartburn.
  4. Feeling Fatigue. Extreme tiredness, even when you are not doing anything happens to women as a sign of heart attack. It has been said that some women can’t even do some regular activities like they usually do caused by the fatigue feeling, which is sometimes felt in the chest.
  5. Cold Sweating. Cold sweating unreasonably should be put into awareness especially if you don’t usually sweating like that since common sweating from exercising or heating outside is normal.
  6. Trouble Breathing. A combination of lightheadedness and trouble breathing are indications of heart attack especially if you are not doing anything, but feeling like you have been running for miles.
  7. Flu. Women can experience nausea, a feeling like flue before experiencing a heart attack, maybe about some days or weeks before.
  8. Sleep disturbances. feeling the pain in the upper body, or feeling fatigue like you are sick will lead to some sleep disturbances that might wake you up many times.

Heart Attack Symptoms in Men

Men tend to experience some standards symptoms of heart attack, including:

  1. Rapid heartbeat. The same symptom as what women have, rapid heartbeat is also experienced by men.
  2. Squeezing Pain. The type of chest pain in men is the one that feels like an elephant is sitting on it. It may happen intensely or briefly.
  3. Short Breathing. The feeling of gasping the air is also experienced by men, which happens unreasonably even when you are doing nothing.
  4. Stomach Discomfort. While women tend to have pressure in the stomach, men experience the symptom more like indigestion.
  5. Cold Sweat and Lightheadedness. These are also common symptoms happen for both men and women when you are feeling as if you are going to faint.

Other Types of Heart Diseases

  1. Coronary Artery Symptoms. The buildup of plaque in the coronary arteries can block the blood from flowing to the heart. There is no symptom when it firstly occurs, but as the plaque buildup is increasing, it leads to several symptoms below:
  2. Angina. Angina is a condition when your heart feels tight or under pressure, as if someone is sitting on it. Commonly it happens in the left or middle part of the chest, but in women angina happens like a sharp pain, spreading to the neck, back or arm. It happens when you are feeling stress emotionally or physically and it commonly stops when you are no longer stressful.
  3. Heart Attack. There have been some explanations of heart attack symptoms above, and the coronary artery is also connected to heart attack as an effect of the plaque buildup in the artery.
  4. Extreme Fatigue. When the artery is blocked, the heart can’t pump blood to your body and it ends up with the condition of extreme fatigue that can make you experience a short breathing.
  5. Arrhythmia. Irregular heartbeat, whether it is a condition of skipping heartbeat or racing heartbeat, are called as arrhythmia, and is also a symptom of coronary artery. The worst is that this condition can even lead to cardiac arrest; it is when the heart stops beating.
  6. Silent Ischemia. This is a condition where the coronary artery happens silently, and when it leads to heart attack, it also silently comes making the patients unaware of their health conditions.
  7. Angina. Angina is a feeling of pain in the chest, but this is not yet a heart attack. This is a symptom of coronary artery disease, which can lead to heart attack if not properly treated, here are the symptoms:
  8. Breathlessness. The condition when you have to gasp for air is also a symptom of angina.
  9. Nausea. The feeling of sick in the stomach usually comes along with the chest pain.
  10. Unreasonably Tired. Getting extremely tired when you don’t even did something hard should be put into awareness.
  11. Restlessness. You are feeling weak as if you need to spend more time to rest while you don’t even need that since you have been resting.
  12. Dizziness. It is a common symptom happens when you are feeling fatigue and tired as mentioned above.
  13. Chest Pain. This is the main symptom happens in angina and it is usually followed with the pain in the jaw, neck and arms. In some cases this might happen like you are experiencing indigestion.
  14. Heart Failure. The symptoms of heart failure are varied from one person to another, they can constantly happen or they can come and then go depending on how severe the heart failure is.
  15. Fluid Retention. When the heart is weak, it can’t pump blood properly to the kidneys resulting in fluid retention in your body. This condition can be seen by swelling on the legs or ankles or gaining weight. Some people might also experience nausea or bloating stomach.
  16. Congested Lungs. The lungs congested since the body fluids get back to them when the heart is weak. The fluid makes your breath shorter. When you lie down you might feel breathless, which sometimes also lead to wheezing or dry coughing.
  17. Abnormal Heartbeats. Since the heart is not working properly, it tries to pump blood properly making the heart beating faster than it is. This condition can lead to a racing or irregular heartbeat.
  18. Persistent Cough. When the fluid in your body goes back to the lungs, you can experience persistent cough that can be accompanied with blood-tinged phlegm in pink or white.
  19. Lacking Appetite. Bloating stomach can make you feel lacking of appetite especially with the fluid retention condition in your body.
  20. Extreme Breathless. This is a kind of breathless that makes you wake up at night because you are gasping for air as you lie down. When you wake up, you might want to sit down just to breathe easily. Sometimes the extreme breathless force you to sleep with some pillows propping up.
  21. Ankle Swelling. The fluid retention happens in your body results in ankle swelling. In the morning the swelling is not really disturbing, but then you can find it worse later, still in the same day, according to most cases.
  22. Chest Pain. This symptom happens if the heat failure disease is related with heart attack. This doesn’t always happen since heart attack is not the only cause.
  23. Needing to Urinate. It happens commonly in the middle of the night due to the fluid retention. Your body is trying hard for getting rid of the fluid making you need to urinate at night.
  24. Fatigue. Just imagine when all the symptoms happen: you are lacking of appetite, feeling breathless and coughing. The heart doesn’t work properly, so the body doesn’t get enough blood at the same time. Your energy is decreasing along with the lacking of concentration.
  25. Arrhythmia. Arrhythmia is a condition where your heart bets irregularly and it doesn’t always lead to a heart attack. In some cases it might be harmless and some people don’t even get any symptoms until the doctor recognizes it. These are some possible symptoms:
  26. Palpitations. When an abnormal heart beat happens, it is called as palpitation. The abnormality can be a fluttering, skipped or running away heartbeat. This can also happen to those who are not experiencing palpitations, so without medical checking, it feeling this symptom only can’t be said as having arrhythmia.
  27. Achycardia. This is a condition when your heart is beating too fast. This also leads to fluttering or pounding heart and you might feel that your heart is beating faster than it usually is. This is not always related to arrhythmia since there are some other factors leading to this such as exercise, stress and medication.
  28. Fainting. This is a severe symptom that should be properly treated. Even the feeling of about to faint is already severe, so seek help if you are experiencing such feeling/
  29. Lightheadedness. Lightheadedness combined with dizziness is some common symptoms before fainting. This is why these two symptoms are also included as a severe stage of arrhythmia.
  30. Chest Pain and Shortness of Breath. This is another combination of severe symptoms to pay attention. When you start feeling pain in the chest and gasping for air due to the breathless condition, go seek for help.
  31. Heart Valve Disease. The heart needs enough amount of blood to work, but when it doesn’t get enough, it will beat harder. One of the reasons why the heart is not getting enough blood is because the heart valves start to fail, here are the symptoms.
  32. Edema. Edema is a condition when some parts of your body, including the belly, abdomen, ankles and feet re swelling. You might feel bloated when the swelling happens to your stomach.
  33. Palpitations. As has been explained before, palpitation is when the heartbeat is becoming abnormal, whether it is fluttering, flip-flopping or skipping in the chest.
  34. Difficulty Breathing. It is normal to feel catching breath when you are doing intense activities, but heart valves failure leads to difficulty breathing not only when you are doing activities, even the normal ones, but also when you are lying down in your bed.
  35. Abnormal Gaining Weight. It may be caused by the edema; you can gain weight even up to three pounds in just one day. So when this symptom comes, you must check your health condition.
  36. Weakness. Feeling weak after doing certain hard activities might be harmless, but heart valves failure can make you weak even after doing simple and normal activities you usually do. It can come along with dizziness and sometimes fainting happens afterwards.
  37. Chest Pressure. Having a pressure in the chest is also another symptom to be aware of, which happens mostly when you are exposed to the cold air or doing activities.
  38. Hypertensive Heart Disease. Above we have talked about heart failure, arrhythmia, cardiac arrest, heart attack and coronary artery disease. They are actually a part of hypertensive heart disease, some causes leading to this condition. Hypertensive heart disease is mostly caused by hypertension as the heart is under more pressure. Check these symptoms to recognize it:
  39. Chest Pressure. As the heart is being under pressure, it influences the chest, making you feel tight or painful in that area.
  40. Irregular Heartbeat. The pressure in the heart, which makes it painful, also leads to its irregularity in beating. You might also find it sound unusual as it beats.
  41. Loss of Appetite. There are fluids stay in the lungs and this condition makes your body gets excessive fluids including the stomach. This is maybe why you are lacking your appetite.
  42. Enlarged Heart. When the heart is thickening, some symptoms like breathlessness, fatigue, swelling and edema, or swelling might happen as the heart doesn’t work properly.
  43. Cardiac Arrest Symptoms. This can be a severe condition of a heart attack and it can lead to death, but it can also come by itself without being started with a heart attack, here are the signs.
  44. Heart Stop Beating. While heart attack is just making your heart beating fast, cardiac arrest is even worse, making your heart stop beating. When the heart is not beating, the body is not breathing.
  45. Body is not Moving. Some symptoms above, the heart stops beating and the body is not breathing leads to the person is not moving.
  46. Unresponsive. When someone is not moving, you might try to touch or talk to him, but people with cardiac arrest tend to not able responding to any stimulation addressed to them.
  47. Sudden Collapse. Since this disease comes suddenly, the patient might experience a sudden collapse, which is usually also started with dizziness, racing heartbeat or lightheadedness.
  48. No Pulse. Since the heart stops beating, there is usually no pulse as the patient is collapsing or unconscious.
  49. Similar Heart Attack Symptoms. This is why people tend to make mistake in calling a cardiac arrest as a heart attack because some symptoms are similar. Before leading to cardiac arrest, you might experience some heart-attack like symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, chest pain and breathless. An hour after that, cardiac arrest might happen, so it is better to see the doctor as soon as those symptoms come.

What to Do when get Heart Attack Symptoms

Although people might have different symptoms from one another, some might feel the chest pain and some might just experience the stomach pain, even the symptoms are slightly different from men and women, the actions to do after knowing the symptoms are still the same.

  1. Go Make a Call. When there is a pattern happens representing all the symptoms recognized as a heart attack, don’t wait but call. Call an ambulance as soon as you realize that you are having a heart attack. It is better for the ambulance to come for a mistake rather than to come but too late.
  2. Rest While Waiting. After calling, get relax and rest. Don’t do something that makes your heart straining since it could make the symptoms worse.
  3. Take Aspirin. If you are not allergic to aspirin and you have it, take it. This is a good thing to do to keep supplying the heart with blood while thinning the blood. Make sure to ask for recommendation from the ambulance or emergency when you call before taking aspirin.
  4. Go to hospital. You must go to hospital first, so doctor will give you first aids to prevent heart stop working.
  5. Avoid Driving. If you are not calling an ambulance, but going to the hospital, never drive a car yourself and have someone to do that for you.
  6. Stay Calm. Take a deep breath and stay calm is very important to do. Breathe slowly while resting your body and don’t think anything that can make your heart beating fast.

How to Prevent Heart Attack

1. Healthy Eating

Include some healthy foods in your daily meals, which consist of fruits, vegetables, fish, grains and other nutritious foods. Cut the consumption of unhealthy foods containing too much sugar, saturated fats and salts. It is better to eat the fresh ingredients rather than the packaged ones.

2. Stress Free

Don’t be under pressure and relax. You can spend a little time to relax your body and muscles after working hard to prevent you from feeling tired. Stress can lead to some diseases including heart attack, so you should give yourself a little time to relax after working.

3. Smoking Free

Smoking is one of the biggest reasons why people are suffering from heart attack. If you are smoking, go quit it. If you are not, then don’t. There are some methods to do to stop your smoking habit if you find it really hard to quit. Consult it with your doctor for getting the solutions. Simply avoiding smoking can provide a significant help for you to prevent heart attack.

4. Blood Pressure Management

Normal blood pressure is important. Prevent your blood pressure from going too high can prevent heart attack from coming. Managing blood pressure can be done by eating healthy foods, exercising regular and managing stress.

5. Blood Sugar Control

Diabetes is one of the causes of heart attack and heart disease. It happens because the arteries are getting too much sugar making them damaged. It is recommended that you check your blood sugar to see whether or not it is still under control because sometimes high blood sugar can’t be seen just by seeing the symptoms.

6. Cholesterol in Mind

The blood running to your heart also brings fat and cholesterol contained. The more cholesterol carried by blood to the arteries, the thicker the buildup. Cholesterol is not always bad because the good one does exist in your body. You need to lower the bad one and increasing the good one. Consume healthy foods and do regular exercises to reduce the amount of bad fat in your blood. Check your cholesterol to see whether or not you still have to lower it.

7. Weight Loss

Reducing weight loss can also help to reduce the risk of heart attack. So if you think you are overweight, do some exercises and get an ideal weight. You can consult it with your doctor to learn how to healthily lose some pounds.

8. Regular Exercises

Doing an exercise doesn’t have to be done in a gym. You can simply walk or run around the neighborhood to move your body. Caring your garden and clean your house is also some kinds of exercises. Move your body and do some activities can help you lower the blood pressure and cholesterol, which means heart attack, can be prevented.

Healthy Foods for Fighting Heart Attack

1. Salmon

The richness of omega-3 fatty acids in salmon, which is great in lowering the level of triglycerides, makes it a good food to include in your healthy diet. You don’t have to consume it daily, just regularly consume it twice a week to supply your body with this healthy fat.

2. Berries

Berries containing high level of antioxidants called flavonoids that can protect your body from many kinds of diseases. A study has shown that eating berries more than three servings in a week can help to reduce heart attack risk up to 32 percent. The antioxidants in berries are excellent in lowering blood pressure while dilating blood vessels.

3. Oatmeal

Soluble fiber can be used in lowering cholesterol and it is available in oatmeal. The cholesterol can be reduced as the fiber soaks it up just like a sponge soaks up water. By absorbing the cholesterol, its mount in the bloodstream can be reduced. Don’t consume oatmeal with added sugar, but go with the more natural one such as quick-cooking or old-fashioned oats, which are better. You can also consume other foods containing soluble fiber like the foods with whole grains.

4. Citrus Fruits

Study has found that about 19 percent of ischemic stroke risk can be reduced simply by consuming flavonoids. Not only from berries, can they be also found in citrus fruit such as grapefruits and oranges. The combination of flavonoids and vitamin C are helpful in lowering heart disease risk. Always consume the fresh, healthy ones. Don’t buy the packaged orange juices with added sugar. Just ensure that you need to consult it with your doctor if you are consuming drugs for lowering cholesterol since grapefruit products might distract the drug’s effectiveness.

5. Dark Chocolate

Eating chocolate is fun especially for women. It is good news when even dark chocolate can help preventing heart attack. It has been shown in some studies that dark chocolate, which is a kind of chocolate containing cocoa around 60 up to 70 percent, can reduce the risk of heart risks for those who are having a high risk of the disease. This is because dark chocolate is rich in polyphenols.

This is a kind of flavonoid that can help your blood pressure lower and the inflammation and clothing can be reduced. Keep in mind that this only happens with dark chocolate, not chocolate candy or milk chocolate.

6. Soy Products

The high level of nutrition in soy products, which contain vitamins, fiber, minerals and polyunsaturated fats, are excellent for reducing the level of bad cholesterol in your body. So instead of dairy milk, consume soy milk instead. You can also eat tofu and include it to your healthy diet for reaping more benefits.

7. Tomatoes

Potassium and lycopene can be found in tomatoes and they are beneficial for your health. Lycopene is a kind of antioxidant, which is helpful in reducing the bad cholesterol, resulting in lowered risk of heart attack. It is good to eat tomatoes because they are low in sugar and calories, making you don’t need to worry about the added weights.

8. Potatoes

Potatoes are known for their starch, which are frequently related as a bad thing. Potatoes are healthy when they are cooked properly. Avoid frying potatoes if you want to get the benefits including the potassium and fiber. By consuming potatoes you can prevent heart disease attacking your health through the potassium and fiber.

9. Avocado

avocado is rich in monounsaturated fats that can help to prevent cholesterol, which is one of the causes of heart diseases. Not only containing healthy fats, avocado is also packed with potassium that is known for its excellence for the health. This fruit is very easy to eat. Just eat it alone or mix it into your favorite dishes like guacamole to make it tastier.

10. Nuts

There are many kinds of nuts that are good for your heart health including peanuts, walnuts, almonds, macadamia and pistachios. All of them contain vitamin E and fiber. Consuming nuts should be tricky because most of them are salted or made with additional sugar. The best solution is to roast your own nuts so that you know how much spices to add.

11. Olive Oil

Like avocados, olive oil, the extra-virgin version, is rich in monounsaturated fats. This healthy fat is very important for maintaining the heart health since it is effective in reducing blood sugar and cholesterol. You can simply consume four tablespoons of olive oil daily combined with eating healthy vegetables, fruits, grains and nuts for creating a balance. You don’t have to consume it alone, add it to your salad is a good idea.

12. Legumes

There is a study showed that legumes can help reducing heart disease risk up to 22 percent. This should be done four times in a week. Eating legumes can help you control and even lower the blood sugar including for those with diabetes. Since diabetes is one of the causes of heart diseases, preventing it can be helpful in maintaining your heart health.

13. Green Tea

It has been shown in a recent study that green tea can reduce cardiovascular disease risk around 20 percent when it is consumed at least four cups daily. This can be caused by the catechins, a kind of antioxidant containing in green tea.

If you take a little closer, there are some signs of heart attack that maybe similar to the symptoms of other conditions such as the feeling of fatigue, weakness and even bloated. So don’t simply judge you are suffering from a heart attack or heart disease just because you have some symptoms. The best way is whenever you feel unwell, check your condition to see what is happening. This will prevent from any chronic disease coming since you always make your checkup early.