A heart attack appears when the supply of blood to the heart gets interrupted/blocked. The blockage is most of the time a build-up of fat, cholesterol, and other substances, which form a plaque in the artery that feeds the heart ( Coronary arteries). Most times, a plaque can rupture and form a clot that blocks blood flow. The blockage not allowing the blood to flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle. There are different types of heart attacks, one called myocardial infarction is very fatal, but fortunately, its treatment has improved over the years. Heart attack symptoms vary from person to person and we will be mentioning some of them here.
However, not all heart problems give clear warning signs. Actually, there isn’t always an alarming chest clutch, followed by a fall to the floor like movies portray heart attacks. Some heart attack symptoms don’t even happen in your chest, and most time is not always telling what is going on. In addition, it was once said that, if you are not sure, get it checked out, says Charles Chamber, MD director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at Penn State Hershey Heart and Vascular Institutes.
Heart Attack Symptoms Vary…
You need to know that not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms. Some people have mild symptoms, others might have more severe pain, and some have no symptoms. However, for some people, the first symptom may be cardiac arrest. The fact is that the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the chance you’ll have a heart attack.
Unfortunately, some people always associate chest pain with heart attacks, and for a good reason, but that is not the whole story, most especially in the case of women. Chest pain is the most common of heart attack symptoms. Women can have symptoms that aren’t chest pain-related at all, says cardiologist Leslie Cho, MD. Due to that, they need to be on the lookout for other subtler symptoms.
Below are some of the symptoms you should watch out for and how to tell if they are benign or a cause for concern.
1. Neck, Jaw, Back Pain…
As complicated as our body system is, it is very adept at giving signals when something is wrong. When problems occur in the heart, the heart triggers nerves in that area, but you often feel pain elsewhere.
Pain representing a problem in the jaw, back, or arms may signal a heart condition, especially when the origin of the pain is hard to identify, for instance, in cases where there is no specific muscle or joint that aches. In addition, if the pain begins or worsens when you exert yourself and then stops when you quit exercising, it’s best to get it checked out.
Moreover, there are some other symptoms to watch out for.
- Women, in particular, can have pain in either arm and not just the left one like in men
- Pain in the lower or upper back, which often starts in the chest, can spread to these areas
- You may feel pain specific to the left, lower side of the jaw.
2. Sweating And/ Or Shortness Of Breath…
As women age, lack of exercise and gradual weight gain causes issues like shortness of breath. In most cases, hot flashes are a common complaint of many women during menopause. These symptoms can signal a heart problem when they happen in a certain situation, such as ;
- Situations sweating or shortness of health without exertion
- Shortness of breath that worsens when lying down and improves when propping up
- Breathlessness that continues to worsen over time after exertion
- Sweating or shortness of breath accompanied by other symptoms such as chest pain or fatigue
Actually, it’s normal to snore a little while you snooze. Loud snoring that is unusual that sounds like gasping or choking can be a sign of sleep apnea. In this type of situation, breathing stops for brief moments several times, specifically at night while you sleep. This, as a result, puts extra stress on your heart. So, therefore, in situations like this, your doctor can check whether you need a sleep study to see if you have this condition. If so, you may need a CPAP machine to smooth out your breathing while you sleep.
4. Your legs, feet, and ankles are swollen…
In a situation when your legs, feet, and ankles are swollen, this could be a sign that your heart doesn’t pump blood as effectively as it should. Studies show that when the heart can’t pump fast enough, blood backs up in the veins and causes bloating. Moreover, the failure of the heart leads to the inability of the kidney to remove extra water and sodium from the body, which as a result can lead to bloating.