What are the symptoms of a heart attack and how to spot someone having one?
Heart attacks are a very common issue but that should not detract from them being serious medical emergencies.
Heart attacks are more likely to affect men over the age of 45 and women over 55 as well as those with high blood pressure and those who are obese.
However, heart attacks can affect almost anyone with those who have a family history of heart attacks, particularly at risk.
If you suspect you or someone you know is having a heart attack, you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance.
What causes a heart attack?
Heart attacks are usually caused by coronary heart disease (CHD) with this being the leading cause of these attacks, according to the NHS.
This condition sees major blood vessels that supply the heart get clogged with deposits of cholesterol, known as plaque.
This causes a lack of blood going to the heart which can seriously damage the muscle and become life-threatening.
What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
Here are some of the most common symptoms associated with a heart attack:
Chest pains - This can include feelings of pressure, heaviness, tightness and/or squeezing throughout your chest.
Pain in other parts of the body including on your arms (usually left arm), jaw, neck, back and tummy.
Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
Shortness of breath
Sickness or nausea
Overwhelming anxiety (like a panic attack)
Coughing and wheezing
What complications can be caused by a heart attack?
Heart attacks can cause serious and life-changing complications with these including:
Arrhythmias - Heartbeats become abnormal with type 1 involving the heart beating faster and faster before its stops (cardiac arrest).
Cardiogenic shock - The heart muscle becomes severely damaged and cannot contract property to supply blood.
Heart rupture - The heart's muscles, walls and valves split apart.
How to prevent a heart attack
The NHS outlines five steps for reducing the risk that you will experience a heart attack. These include:
Regular exercise - adults should do 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate exercise a week (unless advised otherwise).
Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet
Moderate alcohol consumption
If you or someone you know is experiencing a heart attack, you should call 999 and ask for an ambulance as this is an emergency.