Early Heart Attack Care
Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) education teaches you to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Why? We want you to become an active bystander, so you can save a life--even if it's yours. About 750,000 people in the U.S. have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 116,000 die. Many of these patients experienced early symptoms. Did you know that most heart damage can occur within the first two hours of a heart attack? EHAC encourages you to know the subtle signs of a heart attack and act on them before heart damage occurs.
Learn the Early Signs & Symptoms
Heart disease is the #1 killer of both men and women in the U.S. Recognizing the warning signs of a heart attack and seeking immediate treatment could save your life. Someone might have one or more of these commons symptoms when experiencing a heart attack. When they start, they can be mild or come and go. Over time, the symptoms and pain become more intense. Stay alert and always pay attention to chest pressure.
What are the risk factors?
These are the general risk factors for a heart attack. Discuss your risk with your doctor.
- Chest pain, pressure, burning, aching or tightness (These may come and go.)
- A family history of cardiovascular disease
- High blood pressure
- Overweight or obese
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Using tobacco products
- Metabolic disease, diabetes or other illnesses
For women, risk factors can also include using birth control pills, having a history of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes, or having a low birth weight baby.
Men v. Women
Some heart attack symptoms can be different between men and women. Why does it matter? Women may be less likely to seek immediate medical care, which can cause more damage to the heart.
- Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side
- Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous
- Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into their jaw
- Women may think their stomach pain is the flu, heartburn or an ulcer
What are atypical presentations?
In an atypical presentation, the signs and symptoms are different. How? The patient may not complain about pain or pressure in the chest. Be alert for the following:
- A sharp or "knife-like" pain that occurs with coughing or breathing
- Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body
- Difficult or labored breathing