Knowing heart attack signs can save your life

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Heart attacks are scary events that can happen to anyone, and quick action can make all the difference. Imagine you’re at home or work and suddenly your chest starts hurting.

What do you do? A study presented at a major health conference in 2023 tells us that knowing what to look for and acting fast can save lives.

It’s that simple, but it turns out many people don’t know all the warning signs or what to do if they think they or someone else is having a heart attack.

What the Study Found

The research team, led by Dr. Kyehwan Kim in South Korea, looked at almost 12,000 patients who had suffered from heart attacks.

They asked these folks if they knew the signs of a heart attack when it happened. A little over half said yes.

The most recognized sign was chest pain, but other symptoms like shortness of breath, sweating, and pain going into the arms or jaw were less known.

The researchers then looked at how quickly these patients got the medical care they needed. Here’s where it gets interesting.

Those who knew at least one sign of a heart attack got treated within two hours about 57% of the time. On the other hand, those who didn’t know any symptoms were treated within two hours only 47% of the time.

Now, you might think a 10% difference doesn’t sound like much, but when it comes to a heart attack, every minute counts.

To put this into perspective, the people who knew what to look out for had a better chance of surviving.

Only 1.5% of them passed away in the hospital, compared to 6.7% of those who didn’t recognize any symptoms. That’s a big difference!

Men, younger folks, and people living with a partner were more likely to know these signs. But even people who had a heart attack before didn’t always remember what to watch for.

This tells us that everyone needs to be better educated, especially older adults, women, and people living alone.

What You Need to Know

Heart attacks are medical emergencies that happen when the blood flow to the heart gets blocked. The most common signs include:

  • Chest pain or discomfort: Usually in the middle of the chest, it can feel like squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Pain in other parts of the body: The pain can spread to your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: This can happen with or without chest discomfort.
  • Other signs: Breaking into a cold sweat, feeling dizzy, or getting sick to your stomach can also be warning signs.

If you or someone you know shows these signs, call for an ambulance right away. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital; you need medical professionals as soon as possible.

The Bottom Line

In a nutshell, this study tells us we all need to be better informed about the signs of a heart attack. It’s not just chest pain; there are other clues your body gives you.

The more you know, the faster you can act, and the better your chances are of surviving and making a full recovery.

And remember, this is especially important for women, older adults, and folks who live alone. So, take a minute to share this information with your loved ones; it could save a life.

If you care about heart health, please read studies about the best time to take vitamins to prevent heart disease, and scientists find how COVID-19 damages the heart.

For more information about heart health, please see recent studies about Aspirin linked to a higher risk of heart failure, and results showing this drug could reduce heart disease, fatty liver, and obesity.

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