Community Blog

Would You Recognize a Heart Attack?

By Denise Roskamp

Many people think that recognizing a heart attack is easy. A heart attack always involves sharp pain in the chest and the event is dramatic and hard to miss, right? Actually, no. The truth is that sometimes a heart attack comes on slowly and people often pass off the symptoms as something less serious. As the family caregiver for a senior, it’s important to know the symptoms of a heart attack so that you can get your parent help fast.

Heart Attack Signs

The symptoms of a heart attack can be different from one person to the next. Some people have subtle symptoms while others experience severe pain. Typical symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest Pain: Sometimes the chest pain involved in a heart attack is more accurately described as discomfort. According to the Mayo Clinic, chest pain can feel like “a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in [the] chest lasting more than a few minutes.” Sometimes the pain or discomfort stops for a bit and then starts again.
  • Difficulty Breathing: Sometimes a person will feel as though they cannot catch their breath.
  • Pain in the Upper Body: Upper body pain can occur with or without chest pain. There may be pain or an uncomfortable feeling in the back, jaw, shoulders, teeth, or arms.
  • Dizziness: A person having a heart attack may feel lightheaded or as though they are going to faint.
  • Nausea: Sometimes a heart attack causes the person to experience nausea or vomiting.

Women Experience Heart Attack Differently

Women often experience heart attack differently than men do. The most common symptom is still chest pain, but women have some of the other symptoms more often than men do. Instead of dramatic chest pain, they might feel pain in their backs or jaws or have trouble breathing. According to the American Heart Association, women sometimes ignore the more subtle signs of a heart attack and keep going because they want to continue taking care of their families. They say that even when women recognize that they are having a heart attack, they may take an aspirin and neglect to call for emergency assistance. But, it’s important that women not ignore the signs because the number one killer of women in the United States is heart disease.

If you’re concerned about your parent having a heart attack, having a home care provider check on them during the day can reduce some of your worries. A home care provider can also help your parent to prevent a heart attack by helping them to cook heart healthy meals and encouraging your parent to be physically active. If your parent is reluctant to exercise because they are afraid of hurting themselves, a home care provider’s presence can make them feel more comfortable.


Sources
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp#.WZ3yhiiGPIU
http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Heart-Attack-Symptoms-in-Women_UCM_436448_Article.jsp#.WZ3yuSiGPIU
http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/heart-attack/in-depth/heart-attack-symptoms/art-
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IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE SERVICES IN WESTON, MA, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT HOME HELPERS TODAY. CALL NOW (508) 545-0164.