Heart disease or heart attacks account for 25% of deaths in the United States. That means that if a person has at least four friends, one of them will die from a heart-related problem. Knowing the signs will not only protect you, but your family and friends as well.
Most of us know the signs of a heart attack when it happens: discomfort in the chest that doesn’t go away, unconsciousness, and abnormal pulse or breathing.
However, there are some symptoms that can manifest about a month before a serious heart attack takes place. Being aware of these signs and knowing what they mean could save a life.
Here are 10 signs a person may have a heart attack in the near future:
It typically lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and returns. This is the most common heart attack symptom.
2. Headache, Jaw Pain, or Toothache – Pain from a heart attack can easily spread to the jaw, head, or even the back.
It is not uncommon for people to report tooth pain or headache when experiencing a heart attack. These symptoms can even occur without chest pain.
3. Shortness of Breath – Shortness of breath or gasping for air is another common sign of a heart attack. It can happen before a heart attack or during. It can also manifest without chest pain.
4. Nausea – Nausea, belching, or indigestion are less common signs of a heart attack. However, these symptoms are more likely to be reported by women than men and are no less important.
5. Vomiting – For some people, the pain of the heart attack is so severe that vomiting is also present.
If someone finds that they are unable to keep down their food for no apparent reason, that may be a warning sign.
6. Sweating – Excessive sweating or a cold sweat often accompany a heart attack. That is because the body is working hard to regulate itself.
7. Heartburn – Many people mistake heart attacks for heartburn and it is a common mistake among doctors as well. Heartburn that has appeared suddenly, and won’t go away, should be checked out.
8. Arm Pain – People who experience a heart attack often feel pain that radiates down the left arm.
However, it isn’t uncommon to feel pain in the right arm as well. Radiating arm pain that won’t go away needs to be checked out.
9. Upper Back Pain – As we stated earlier, heart attack pain can easily feel like pain in the upper back or shoulder area. Consistent pain that won’t go away could be a cause for concern.
10. Feeling Off – One of the earliest signs of a heart attack is a general feeling of unease.
People describe this as fatigue or lightheadedness that may or may not accompany fainting. Some people experience anxiety or even a panic attack.
Unfortunately, heart attacks are considered a man’s problem. However, when a woman suffers a heart attack, she is more likely than a man to die, be permanently disabled, or have a second attack within a year.
According to research:
“..95 percent of the women suspected something was wrong in the months before their attack. But that didn’t necessarily send them to the doctor. And for those who did seek help, doctors often failed to identify the problems as heart-related.”
This is why education and understanding the signs are both so important. If you or a loved one are experiencing any of the signs above, it is important to see a healthcare professional.