Knowing what to do in a heart attack emergency is crucial. Learn how to recognize the symptoms and manage the situation until paramedics arrive. In the first hour of the attack, the damage done is not too severe to be contained and treated afterwards. However, if you wait for more than two hours to act, the chances of survival will be slim to none. Statistics reveal that 50% of heart attack patients usually die in the second hour.
What Are the Heart Attack Symptoms?
The symptoms usually vary from one case to the next. Although most attacks usually begin with pressing chest pain, not all can be identified this way. It is reported that many attacks occur in the absence of this common symptom. This is particularly true when dealing with diabetics. During a heart attack emergency, victims usually begin to feel mild pain that accelerates to an excruciating level in a few minutes.
The common signs to watch out for include:
- Chest discomfort. This is a pressing pain that occurs at the centre of the chest. It appears for several minutes and then disappears.
- Body pain. Heart attacks cause pain to other parts of the body, especially the jaw, teeth, stomach, arms and the back.
- Difficulty in breathing. This can either occur alongside the chest pain or on its own.
- Cold Sweats.
- Indigestion/ Abdominal pain.
- Nausea/ Vomiting.
Factors that affect the severity of the signs during a heart attack emergency include:
- Medical conditions
What Should Be Done Before the Paramedics Arrive?
The first thing to do when faced with such an emergency is to call the paramedics. Then, do the following:
- Keep the victim calm. Panic escalates the condition which is why it’s advisable to sit with the victim and converse with him/her. Talk about life’s happy moments as this will distract the victim’s attention and restore the will to live.
- Establish if the victim of the heart attack emergency has an allergy for aspirin. If not, give them baby aspirin (because it’s chewable) to contain the symptoms.
- If the victim stops breathing, administer CPR immediately. If you are not familiar with the procedure, call 911 and get assistance from the operator until paramedics arrive.
What Are the Ways of Being Prepared?
A heart attack emergency normally occurs unexpectedly. You need to be adequately prepared for the unfortunate event. Take the following steps:
- Memorize all the common signs of heart attacks so that you can be in a better position to act accordingly during an emergency.
- Inform family members, friends and roommates about the symptoms. Also, tell them the significance of dialing 911 when these symptoms are detected.
- Go to your doctor for regular heart check-ups. You’ll learn more on how to minimize the risk factors.
- Keep information about the medication you’re using, allergies and your doctor’s phone number in your wallet at all times.
- In case you’re a parent or guardian, arrange for another person to take care of your dependants if a heart attack emergency occurs.