If you were to suffer a heart attack while in the company of people, calling out for help is probably the first instinctive thing you’d do. But what if a heart attack happens when you’re alone, would you likely survive it?
Should you experience a heart attack – regardless of whether you’re alone or in the presence of others – the very first thing to do is to call for emergency medical help. You need specialised treatment to be delivered to you as quickly as possible in order to save your heart muscle. Should you be alone when a heart attack occurs, stop whatever you’re doing, proceed to a safe place to rest and call for medical help. For example, if you’re driving, first pull to the side of the road and call for aid.
What to do while waiting for medical help to arrive
Take an aspirin (if you are not allergic to it): It is the most commonly taken blood thinning medication in the world, which will improve your chances of survival when taken during a heart attack.
If you have aspirin at home, and you know that you are not allergic to it, then you could consider taking it while waiting for the emergency medical services to arrive.
What not to do during a heart attack
Do not take nitroglycerin: Taking a prescribed medication such as nitroglycerin that temporarily widens blood vessels to improve blood supply to the heart, does not help.
Do not cough repeatedly: In rare cases where the heart beat is very slow from an abnormal reflex mechanism, coughing may help restore normal heart rhythm – but this is not what happens in a heart attack.”
Do not apply pressure on the chest: Similarly, applying pressure on the chest area during a heart attack is unlikely to help unless the person’s heart has stopped beating (also known as a cardiac arrest). When this happens, CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation) should be administered – ideally by someone who is trained to do so.
Symptoms of a heart attack
To know for sure if you’re suffering from a heart attack, you first need to be able to identify its symptoms. Classical symptoms of a heart attack include:
- Severe chest pain (like squeezing, or a heaviness, or pressing) at the central or left part of the chest, lasting usually for at least 20 min.
- Pain that radiates to the left upper arm, neck or jaw.
- Profuse sweating and a feeling of impending doom.
However, the elderly, females and those suffering from diabetes may develop non-classical heart attack symptoms. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Mild chest pain
- Nausea, vomiting
- Pain in the epigastric region (upper central portion of the abdomen)
Source : HealthXChange