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12 Signs of a Heart Attack

By Peter DiMaria

Home Care Ellington CT

Heart attacks are not always as we think they are

Recently, one of our caregivers had a thought that something wasn’t right. She was feeling as if her heart was pacing too fast. As she had a doctor’s appointment in the following week, she decided to wait and talk to her physician about it. She took a baby aspirin. Next morning she experienced the fast heartbeats again and had another baby aspirin.

After telling the story to her doctor, he submitted her to an electrocardiogram (ECG). The doctor looked at her and said:

  • You are very lucky! You had two heart attacks last weekend.

Our caregiver’s story shows that heart attacks are not always as we see in the movies, when one of the characters clutches his or her hands against the chest, expressing a lot of pain. Heart attacks can manifest in different ways, in particular amongst women.

As in the case of our caregiver, a heart attack may manifest itself slowly, for days. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.  If detected early, the person's life can often be saved.

That is why the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) and the American Heart Association (AHA), created this series of 12 animated images describing what it’s like to suffer a cardiac event. They are based on heart attack and stroke survivors descriptions of how they felt when they experienced their symptoms:

  • Truck on the chest

 Elder Care Ellington CT: a heart attack can be felt like a truck rolling over your chest

Source: American Heart Association

  • Breathing through a straw

 Senior Care Ellington CT: some heart attack victims have shortened breath

Source: American Heart Association

  • Knife on the back of the skull

 Home Care Somers CT: heart attack may manifest as severe pain on the back of the head

Source: American Heart Association

  • Rainbow like kaleidoscope

 Elderly Care in Ellington CT: heart attacks may have visual symptoms

Source: American Heart Association

  • Mammogram on the chest

 Home Care Longmeadow MA: Women compared a heart attack to a mammogram

Source: American Heart Association

  • Lights went off in the eyes

 Elder Care in Longmeadow MA: Heart attack victims sometimes lose their vision

Source: American Heart Association

  • Head exploded

 Home Care in East Longmeadow (MA): some heart attacks may feel like an explosion inside your head

Source: American Heart Association

  • Gears grinding in the chest

 Home Care Manchester CT: Some heart attack victims describe it as grinding gears

Source: American Heart Association

  • Flu

 Home Care Enfield CT: some people confuse a heart attack with a sudden and strong flu

Source: American Heart Association

  • An elephant sitting on my chest

 Home Care in Suffield CT: the heavy weight on the chest is sometimes referred as "an elephant"

Source: American Heart Association

  • Heartburn from hell

 Elder Care in Suffield CT: a very strong heart burn may be a heart attack

Source: American Heart Association

  • Arms felt like bowling balls

 Home Care in Tolland CT: Heavy arms could mean a heart attack

Source: American Heart Association

Home Care: what to do?

What should you do if you experience one or more of the symptoms above? Call 911. Don’t try to second guess it and do not delay it. Every minute counts to prevent the deadly consequences of a heart attack or a stroke.

To learn more, visit the American Heart Association website.

Read Also:

Controlling the risks can reduce heart attack in 80%

Six Heart Attack Risk Factors You Can Modify, Treat or Control



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