A heart attack is when the heart muscle goes through irreversible changes due to impaired blood flow through the coronary arteries. It means, simply put, a part of a heart muscle dies. A person may experience the fear of death.
A heart stroke is an emergency situation, so the first thing to do is to call 911. The outcome of the disease will depend on proper first aid. Well-provided first aid for a heart attack can save lives.
The symptoms of a heart attack
A heart attack can be either the first manifestation of coronary heart disease, or occur on the background of long-existing angina pectoris. The main symptom of a heart stroke is an attack of unusually intense pain, which does not go away after taking the usual doses of nitroglycerin.
The pain is usually wave-like, often spreading to the left arm, shoulder blade, neck, and teeth. A heart attack may be accompanied by an extremely high heart rate. Sometimes the heart rate becomes unusually low, so in this case nitroglycerin is forbidden. Other symptoms include: severe weakness, cold sweat, and nausea.
There are also atypical forms of a heart stroke:
- severe abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, and indigestion.
- The asthmatic form can proceed as an attack of bronchial asthma (shortness of breath, difficulty breathing).
Let’s sum up all the common symptoms of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable pressure or squeezing pain in your chest.
- Discomfort or pain spreading to the shoulders, back, neck, jaw, teeth, or one or both arms, or occasionally upper abdomen.
- Shortness of breath.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting.
- Nausea and vomiting.
One of the most insidious forms of myocardial infarction is painless, which occurs without a typical pain attack. The only manifestation of this form may be an unexplained deterioration in general condition, weakness.
The first aid before an ambulance arrives
In case you notice these symptoms, call 911. Your heart attack treatment should be started immediately.
- Exclude any physical activity, smoking, and eating until the doctor arrives.
- Remove or unfasten clothing that restricts breathing.
- Open a window or turn on the air conditioner to provide fresh air.
- Lay in bed or an armchair, but the upper body should be raised.
- Take an aspirin pill, chew the tablet, don’t swallow it. Leave it to be absorbed under the tongue. At the same time, put a nitroglycerin pill under your tongue. Continue taking nitroglycerin pills every 15-20 minutes. Nitroglycerin is not recommended when a heart attack is accompanied by low blood pressure.
- In case of a panic attack take mild sedatives.
If there is a suspicion of cardiac arrest (lack of consciousness, breathing, pulse on the carotid arteries, blood pressure) CPR should be started immediately. You have 3-5 minutes to save a person, so remember the algorithm of actions:
- To start a stopped heart make a strong hit on the chest with the edge of the palm clenched into a fist (precordial blow). You should raise your fist 12-16 inches above the patient’s chest. Then feel the pulse in the carotid artery. If there’s none, begin doing chest compressions and rescue breaths.
- Place a roller under the patient’s neck. Bend the patient’s head back as much as possible. Clean the mouth with a tissue if necessary.
- Push the chest 2 inches deep in the rhythm of a song “Staying alive” by Bee Gees. About 15 chest compressions should alternate with two full exhalations into the mouth or nose. Check the carotid pulse from time to time.
CPR actions should be continued until the ambulance arrives. After the arrival of the ambulance crew, give the doctors the opportunity to do everything necessary.