According to an estimate, chronic diseases are likely to cause 70-75% of all mortality worldwide by 2020. The fact that most chronic diseases are preventable can make even ‘irony’ smile, or shall I say laugh!
Heart attack is one such emergency that can be managed if the patient receives timely treatment. Therefore, it is critical to identify the signs & symptoms of a possible heart attack quickly. Heart attack doesn’t always begin dramatically, like they show in movies, with a sudden crushing chest pain. For example, diabetic patients may have very mild to no symptoms. In fact, 25-35% of patients doesn’t experience chest pain, and get surprised after being told that they had an heart attack!
Moving on, let us have a look at the signs & symptoms that one should not ignore:
1. Chest pain/discomfort: It is the most common symptom, and may vary from mild to severe. It may feel like fullness, squeezing, pressure, burning or heaviness.
2. Pain or discomfort in upper body: Patient may feel pain or discomfort in arms, shoulder neck jaw and back.
3. Shortness of breath: This may occur at rest or during activity, and at times, may be the only symptom you feel, though usually associated with chest discomfort.
4. Other common symptoms: Sweating, light-headedness or dizziness, sudden unusual tiredness, nausea and vomiting.
Call the ambulance even if you don’t have a typical clinical picture and you are not sure that it is not an heart attack. It is better to wrongly assume having an heart attack than later being surprised at having one!
Keep a ‘watch’ on your heart, for it is the only organ in your body that keeps on ticking without ever sleeping.
-Dr. Sunil Chaudhary