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Is This a Heart Attack? When to Call for Help and Tips to Save a Life - CNET

Is This a Heart Attack? When to Call for Help and Tips to Save a Life - CNET

Is This a Heart Attack? When to Call for Help and Tips to Save a Life - CNET
Oct 05, 2022 2 mins, 16 secs

Here's how to survive a heart attack or help someone having one.

When you think "heart attack," classic symptoms such as chest discomfort might first come to mind.

We'd rather have an individual come see a health care professional and get evaluated rather than toughing it out at home, because that is what contributes to the escalating risk of death." .

"A lot of patients ignore their symptoms, and by the time they come in, their heart muscle has already died." .

1 indicator of how well you're going to do after a heart attack is how fast you recognize your symptoms, Reed adds.

There's a strong relationship between when you start to have your heart attack (which is generally when symptoms start) and how fast doctors can open up the blocked coronary artery that's causing it -- the shorter the time, the better the outcomes, not just regarding survival but also the likelihood of heart failure or needing to be readmitted to the hospital. .

When you get to the hospital, medical professionals will likely perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG), which will determine the diagnosis of a heart attack.

If you suspect you're having a heart attack, don't drive yourself to the hospital: Call an ambulance.

If you're with someone who is having heart attack symptoms and becomes unconscious, you should first call 911 and then engage in CPR, Breathett says.

If you're having heart attack symptoms and have access to aspirin, take a full dose of 325 mg after calling the ambulance, Beachey says.

Though in an ideal world, health care providers would take all patient concerns seriously when it comes to heart attack symptoms, studies show women and people of color are less likely to receive adequate treatment for heart attacks and heart disease

For example, older Black women were 50% less likely to be treated when they arrived at a hospital with heart attack or coronary artery disease symptoms than white women, including after accounting for education, income, insurance status and other heart health complications like diabetes and high blood pressure, a 2019 study found. 

One tip recommended by a resident on TikTok: If you feel a provider isn't taking your symptoms seriously, for heart health or otherwise, you can ask the provider, "What is your differential diagnosis?" 

A differential diagnosis is a term to describe what the different diseases are that could be contributing to your symptoms, basically asking the provider to explain why they've ruled out a heart attack and what else it could be

"That exercise pattern probably helped him to put off the time when his heart attack occurred."

Knowing what to do to prevent and respond to a heart attack is just one of the many important elements of your health you should know about


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