Acting quickly on the symptoms of heart attack and stroke can save your life

Acting quickly when faced with the symptoms of a heart attack, i.e. an acute myocardial infarction, and when faced with the symptoms of a stroke (ictus) is vital to alleviate the first problems of these diseases.

In fact, it is very convenient for patients to control these symptoms and to have a clear idea of how to act in the first moments after suffering the attack.

What are the symptoms of a myocardial infarction?

The common symptoms of a heart attack are the following:

  • Chest pain, pressure or discomfort. Occasionally, the pain may spread to one or both arms, shoulder, back, neck, throat, stomach or jaw.
  • Discomfort in the chest below the breastbone.
  • Burning in the chest, or a feeling of indigestion.
  • Shortness of breath or shortness of breath, usually occurring with or before chest discomfort.
  • Profuse sweating, nausea, vomiting and/or fainting.
  • May cause severe anxiety.

Symptoms of heart attack are typical of a very abrupt onset, and usually last more than twenty minutes, although it can also start slowly, as a mild pain or discomfort, with intermittent symptoms. Sometimes someone who has had a heart attack does not recognize the symptoms of a second attack, as the second attack may have completely different symptoms.

What are the symptoms of a stroke?

  • Sudden lack of feeling in various parts of the body, such as the face, arm or legs, especially on one side of the body. The lack of sensation may turn into weakness.
  • Confusion or sudden problems communicating, speaking and understanding.
  • Sudden problems seeing with one or both eyes, trouble walking, loss of balance or coordination, dizziness and possible loss of consciousness.
  • Sudden, severe headache.
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When can I be at risk for a heart attack or stroke?

Cardiovascular diseases are the leading cause of death, and tend to occur more in young men than in women. In turn, the risk of suffering a heart attack increases with age. The following also increase the risk of heart attack and stroke:

  • Having previously had angina or a heart attack.
  • Family history of heart attack or stroke, especially in parents or siblings.
  • Diabetes.
  • High cholesterol and/or triglycerides in the blood or taking pills to reduce them.
  • High blood pressure
  • Tobacco use
  • Excess weight
  • Use of illegal drugs such as cocaine or amphetamines.
  • Lack of regular exercise
  • Taking oral contraceptive drugs

Acting quickly in the event of a stroke or heart attack can save a life.

If you or the person accompanying you notices chest discomfort, especially with one or more symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, it is necessary to call 061 or 112 immediately. You should not wait more than five minutes to do so, and if you are the one with the symptoms, ask someone else to call for you.

Most victims of a heart or brain attack wait more than two hours from the onset of symptoms until they receive medical attention for various reasons:

  • They don’t recognize the symptoms and think it’s something else.
  • They are afraid or unwilling to admit the severity of the symptoms.
  • They are embarrassed to call the doctor or go to the hospital and have a false alarm.
  • They do not understand the importance of going to the hospital.
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If you think you are having a heart attack, do the following:

  • Sit or lie down.
  • Call for help by calling 061 or 112 immediately.
  • Put a nitroglycerin tablet or nitroglycerin spray under your tongue.
  • Chew an aspirin.

For more information, consult a Cardiology specialist.