Symptoms of Heart Attack
Heart attack or myocardial infarction (MI), as more commonly known in medical circles worldwide—happens when an artery located in a part of the heart gets clogged up, either by obstruction due to atherosclerosis, thrombus, or cardiac spasm. When that happens, that affected tissue necrotizes or dies.
Pain. Just like the name implies, symptoms are readily apparent from a person experiencing extreme pain in the chest area, which is often described as a “crushing” sensation. And from that area, the pain can radiate to areas of the left arm, jaw, neck, or the upper abdominal region.
Along with this cardinal sign, other symptoms may accompany it such as
- shortness of breath,
- excessive sweating,
- feelings of palpitation,
- lightheadedness or swooning,
- nausea and possible vomiting,
- a clammy and an ashen skin tone, and
- understandably enough, a sense of imminent death to one’s self.
- Other related cardiovascular symptoms may include a rapid and barely palpable pulse and a low blood pressure.
- Diagnostic and laboratory tests
may also help in confirming the presence of a heart attack.
- (ECG) still remains as the standard in which all MI tests are based upon, with an
elevated ST-segment and Q-wave
- as evidence of its occurrence.
- Blood tests may reveal an abnormal increase in white blood cell circulation, and other laboratory tests may show an unusual increase in serum creatine kinase.
Mild Heart Attack Symptoms
Despite being notorious for causing absurdly high mortality rates worldwide, the fact is that most cases of heart attacks start out gradually, giving the victim ample time to act upon the problem at hand. Some people don’t even know that they’re suffering from a “silent” attack due to the absence of symptoms.
Angina Pectoris. A “mild” heart attack is technically called an angina pectoris, which points to a limited blood circulation and oxygen supply. It’s easy to mistake it for a “real” attack, except that chest pain is often described as “discomforting” at the least, and “tightening” at the most. The pain also has a quality of displaying intermittency, often stopping for a few minutes and then coming back. And just like the above symptoms, the usual signs of an attack may be present, such as
- difficulty in breathing
- a cold and clammy skin and so on
Heart Attack in Men
Though both men and women are easy targets nowadays for heart attacks to occur, studies show that men are three times more prone to suffer attacks than women. Not only that, but evidences point to some other factors wherein management of heart attacks for men should differ from the opposite sex. For one, men frequently experience the signs of a “mild” heart attack than a real one. And while men may have more chances to respond quickly to this occurrence, when they do experience a real MI, the pain and severity is often more devastating than their female counterparts. Aside from that, though, the symptoms for both sexes are the same.
Heart Attack in Women
If anything, heart attacks are more dangerous for women than for men. Why is that? While we have outlined at the preceding topic the severity that men can experience from MIs, women show more “atypical” symptoms of suffering from one. What are those then? These symptoms may be as banal as
- unusual fatigue
- loss of appetite
- difficulty sleeping and
- moments of anxiety—all of which can be dismissed as common discomforts.
Nevertheless, they are as prone to the “usual” signs as men do. Also, postmenopausal women are also at an increased risk due to the lack of estrogen in their bodies.