Heart attack: One warning sign you may not be aware of – have you experienced this?

By | July 3, 2019

A heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. A lack of blood to the heart may seriously damage the heart muscle and can be life-threatening. Chest pain is a common symptom. It may come as a surprise that it can affect the jaw too. 

According to the Heart Foundation, “You may feel an ache or tightness in and around your lower jaw on one or both sides.” This pain spreads from the chest. It may also spread to a person’s left or right arm, neck, back or stomach, the health body said. 

“It’s important to stress that not everyone experiences severe chest pain; the pain can often be mild and mistaken for indigestion.

“It’s the combination of symptoms that’s important in determining whether a person is having a heart attack, and not the severity of chest pain,” said the NHS. 

Other symptoms may include: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • Feeling weak and/or lightheaded
  • Overwhelming feeling of anxiety

Other symptoms may include: 

  • Shortness of breath 
  • feeling weak and/or lightheaded
  • Overwhelming feeling of anxiety

The British Heart Foundation recommends taking the following steps if you think you are having a heart attack:

  • Phone 999 immediately 
  • Sit down and remain calm
  • Take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within reach
  • Wait for the paramedics

According to Mayo Clinic, there are a number of risk factors associated with heart attacks, these include:

Age –  Men age 45 or older and women age 55 or older are more likely to have a heart attack than are younger men and women.

Tobacco – This includes smoking and long-term exposure to secondhand smoke.

High blood pressure – Over time, high blood pressure can damage arteries that feed your heart. High blood pressure that occurs with other conditions, such as obesity, high cholesterol or diabetes, increases your risk even more.

High blood cholesterol or triglyceride levels – A high level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (the “bad” cholesterol) is most likely to narrow arteries. A high level of triglycerides, a type of blood fat related to your diet, also ups your risk of heart attack. However, a high level of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol) lowers your risk of heart attack.

Obesity – Obesity is associated with high blood cholesterol levels, high triglyceride levels, high blood pressure and diabetes. Losing just 10 percent of your body weight can lower this risk, however.

Diabetes – Not producing enough of a hormone secreted by your pancreas (insulin) or not responding to insulin properly causes your body’s blood sugar levels to rise, increasing your risk of heart attack.

Making certain lifestyle changes is the most effective way to prevent having a heart attack (or having another heart attack), according to the NHS. It recommends sticking to a healthy, balanced diet, avoiding smoking, and keeping blood pressure at a health level. 

Having one heart attack does increase the risk of having another, however, added the British Heart Foundation, but this risk is greatly reduced with the correct treatment. 

“If you take the medicines your doctors have prescribed for you and follow a healthy lifestyle, you can significantly reduce your risk,” it added.

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