The TV drama series usually depicts experiencing a heart attack as a man, grabbing his chest and gasping, before collapsing.. Have you ever wondered if this is exactly how it is in real life? This article finds out how to identify an impending heart attack, what you can do to increase the victim’s chance of survival and even save yourself from a heart attack before it is too late.
Heart attack results from the lack of blood supply to the heart. During the sudden onset of a heart attack, timely intervention makes a difference between life and death. According to cardiologist Dr Julian Tan, the survival rate for a heart attack victim who arrive at the hospital conscious is more than 90%. “With the advent of interventional cardiology, heart attack patients nowadays have better chances of survival if they are taken early to the hospital for an emergency angioplasty,” he explains. “In contrast, for out-of-hospital heart attack collapses where the victim is unconscious, the survival rate is less than 20%.”
Therefore, it is crucial for heart attack victims to receive prompt treatment as chances of survival decrease rapidly with every passing minute. Three minutes after the heart stops beating, brain damage sets in and death is almost certain in the absence of resuscitation within the first 10 minutes. In this light, knowledge of cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) is a valuable asset for caregivers and family members of patients at high risk of experiencing a heart attack.
For a bystander who witnesses someone having a heart attack, the necessary immediate action to take:
- Have the victim to seat upright and keep calm
- Bring or call for an ambulance to rush the person to the nearest hospital for an emergency angioplasty
- Apply CPR if the victim has collapsed, not breathing and does not have a pulse
There are a lot of indications that can tell you when a person or you are suffering from a heart attack. Among them, the most common warning symptoms are:
- Chest pain, the most common indicator of an impending heart attack
- Discomfort in the center or left side of the chest and makes it way up to the neck, jaw or left arm
- A feeling of indigestion, choking and heartburn
- Nausea or vomiting
- Extreme shortness of breath, anxiety or weakness
- Irregular or rapid heartbeats
- Breaking out in cold sweat
- Feeling unusually tired without reason and sometime for days (especially women)
- Sudden dizziness or light-headedness
If you act fast when you see the first signs of any of these symptoms of a heart attack, you can save a life as well as limit the damage done to the heart.