Recognizing the Symptoms of a Heart Attack

Heart Attack

A heart attack, or myocardial infarction, is a life-threatening event that occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is interrupted. When oxygen-rich blood is prevented from reaching the muscle cells, they quickly become damaged and die. Heart attacks are caused by blockages in the coronary arteries, or the vessels that supply blood to the heart muscle. Blockages can be a result of the following conditions:

  • Thickening of the walls of the coronary arteries
  • Accumulation of fatty plaques in the coronary arteries
  • Narrowing or spasm of the coronary arteries
  • Embolism affecting the coronary arteries
  • Development of a blood clot in the coronary arteries

Being able to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack is vital in saving your life or the life of someone you love. Many people expect the dramatic signs seen in movies and ignore the more subtle symptoms, placing their lives in danger. Knowing when a heart attack is happening and seeking medical intervention as soon as possible will help you to get more effective treatment.  The symptoms of a heart attack include: 

  • Squeezing, heavy chest pain, especially with exercise, emotional stress, cold weather, or a large meal
  • Pain in the left shoulder, arm, or jaw
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating and clammy skin
  • Nausea
  • Weakness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Anxiety, especially feeling a sense of doom with no apparent reason
  • Stomach pain, back and shoulder pain, confusion, and fainting (these symptoms are more unusual and are more commonly seen in women)

Do not delay—if you experience any possible heart attack symptoms, seriously consider calling 9-1-1 and seeking medical attention immediately. The HeartCare Institute at Riverside Community Hospital is dedicated to the effective treatment of heart disease. If you would like to learn more about your risk factors or how to live a more heart-healthy lifestyle, contact our staff of cardiac care professionals at (951) 788-3000.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *