Heart Attack Symptoms



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Chapter 3 : Heart Attack Symptoms



Symptoms of Heart Attack arrow_upward


  • Dizzy spells or fainting fits.
  • Discomfort following meals, especially if the discomfort continues for extended periods of time.
  • Shortness of breath after slight exertion.
  • Unprovoked fatigue.
  • Pain or tightness in the chest.
  • Palpitation: unpleasant sensations of irregular or forceful beating of the heart.
  • These symptoms of heart attack should be observed minutely and should be taken care of immediately.

  • Pain is Not Always a Symptom of Heart Attack arrow_upward


  • A heart attack often starts with mild symptoms that may not be painful.
  • Many victims experience a tightness or squeezing sensation in the chest.
  • Get emergency medical help immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms for two minutes or more:
    • Pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest
    • Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, or arms
    • Severe pain, sudden weakness, dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath

    Congestive Heart Failure arrow_upward


  • Does not mean the heart has failed, simply means the heart is not doing an efficient job.
  • Congestive Heart Failure results from an injury or a reduction of function of the heart muscle.
  • Can be due to arteriosclerosis, hypertension, myocardial infarction, rheumatic fever, or birth defects.
  • Normally, the right side of the heart collects blood returning from the body and sends it to the lungs.
    • If the heart is failing, the blood backs up into the veins and there are signs of edema (swelling that is caused by fluid trapped in your body's tissues).
  • Normally, the left side of the heart receives the blood from the lungs and pumps it out into the body.
    • If the heart is failing, the blood is not pumped effectively.

    Normal Heart arrow_upward


  • Healthy Heart:
    • Diastole phase: Ventricles fill normally with blood.
    • Systole phase: Ventricles pump out about 60% of the blood.


    Diseased Heart with Systolic Dysfunction arrow_upward


  • The heart contracts less forcefully and cannot pump out as much of the blood that is returned to it as it normally does.
    • Diastole phase: Ventricles become enlarged.
  • More blood remains in the lower chambers of the heart (ventricles).
    • Systole phase: Ventricles pump out less than 40% to 50% of blood.
  • Blood then accumulates in the lungs, veins, or both.

  • Diseased Heart with Diastolic Dysfunction arrow_upward


  • The heart is stiff and does not relax normally after contracting, which impairs its ability to fill with blood.
    • Diastole phase: Ventricles become relatively stiff.
    • Systole phase: Ventricles pump out about 60% of the blood but the amount may be lower than normal.


    Other Symptoms of Heart Attack arrow_upward


  • Chest pressure
  • Sweating
  • Jaw pain
  • Heartburn and/or indigestion
  • Arm pain (more commonly the left arm, but may be either)
  • Upper back pain
  • General malaise (vague feeling of illness)
  • Nausea

  • Angina vs. Heart Attack arrow_upward



    Angina

    Heart Attack

    Cause

  • Temporary lack of blood supply to the heart muscle.
  • Prolonged lack of blood supply to the heart muscle.
  • Permanent heart damage.
  • Location

  • Pain behind breastbone and spreads across chest.
  • May go to shoulder, arms, neck, or stomach.
  • Pain is located in the same areas as angina.
  • Type of Pain

  • Pressure, Crushing,
  • Aching, Choking, Squeezing.
  • Burning or feeling of heartburn.
  • Same type of pain as angina, but more intense.
  • How long does it last?

  • Brief, gone within 15 minutes.
  • Lasts longer than 15 minutes.
  • What triggers the pain?

  • Angina is related to conditions that require your heart to do more work (exposure to extreme temperatures, exercise, etc.)
  • Not related only to conditions that require the heart to do more work; may occur at rest.
  • Relief of Pain

  • Rest and nitroglycerin.
  • Only temporary relief with rest and nitroglycerin.
  • Other Signs

  • Mild sweating and shortness of breath.
  • Severe sweating, shortness of breath, profound weakness, nausea, anxiety, vomiting and dizziness.



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