A heart attack occurs when there is a blockage of blood flow to the heart-causing cells to die. This can lead to permanent damage to the heart muscle. Keep in mind the “chain of survival” if you or a loved one experiences signs or symptoms of a heart attack: Rapid activation of EMS via 9-1-1, CPR started quickly, Early use of automated external defibrillator (AED), Rapid delivery of appropriate and timely care.

Heart attacks can come with mild to severe symptoms. Studies have shown that men are more likely to have these “classic” signs and women have milder signs.

The five major symptoms of a heart attack are

  • Pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back.
  • Feeling weak, light-headed, or faint.
  • Chest pain or discomfort.
  • Pain or discomfort in arms or shoulder.
  • Shortness of breath.

Other symptoms of a heart attack could include unusual or unexplained tiredness and nausea or vomiting. Women are more likely to have these other symptoms. Learn more about women and heart disease(https://www.cdc.gov/dhdsp/data_statistics/fact_sheets/fs_women_heart.htm).

Call 9-1-1

If you notice the symptoms of a heart attack in yourself or someone else, call 9-1-1 immediately. The sooner you get to an emergency room, the sooner you can receive treatment to prevent total blockage and heart muscle damage or reduce the amount of damage. At the hospital, health care professionals can run tests to determine whether a heart attack is occurring and decide the best treatment.

In some cases, a heart attack requires cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or electrical shock (defibrillation). Bystanders trained to use CPR or a defibrillator may be able to help until emergency medical personnel arrive.

Remember, the chances of surviving a heart attack are greater the sooner emergency treatment begins.

For more information about Heart Attacks and American Heart Month this February please visit https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/signs_symptoms.htm

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