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Heart attacks, do you know the symptoms?

We have all seen heart attacks countless times in Hollywood movies, someone suddenly and intensely clutches their chest and then they fall over. We think that these are the universal events that happen during a heart attack, yet this is pretty far from the truth. Heart attacks occur when the flow of oxygen rich blood is blocked in one area of the heart. When this happens the part of the heart that is not getting blood begins to die. Nearly all heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease which is the buildup of plaque in the arteries of the heart. Truth is, symptoms of a heart attack may be mild and they might go unnoticed. Below you will find common risk factors associated with heart attacks as well as symptoms.

Heart attack risk factors

  • Age – men 45 and older, women 55 and older are at higher risk
  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Family history
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Obesity
  • Stress
  • Drug use

Symptoms of a heart attack

  • Pain or  tightness in the chest, squeezing, pressure, as well as discomfort may also come and go
  • Pain in the upper body
  • Stomach pain
  • Feeling of shortness of breath
  • Anxiety
  • Felling lightheaded
  • Sweating
  • Vomiting or nausea

Women are more likely to have pain elsewhere, it could be in the neck, back or jaw, often time chest pain my not even occur. Women may also experience heartburn like symptoms as well as unexplained fatigue that last for days. Knowing the risk factors, as well as the signs and symptoms of a heart attack may save a life. Heart attacks are not like what we see in the movies, they are very serious and require immediate medical attention.

caption-arrow  Feature photo by Alan Levine

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