- uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest lasting two minutes or longer
- pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms (usually on the left side of the body)
- shortness of breath or sudden weakness
- pale skin
WHAT CAUSES A HEART ATTACK?
Blood flow is restricted from an artery to the heart and deprives the heart muscle of necessary oxygen-rich blood. The restriction comes either from a blood clot in an area of the artery where a fatty plaque has ruptured or from an artery that has had a spasm. The amount of damage depends on which artery is blocked and what the remaining blood flow is like in the area. This reduced blood flow can lead to the death of a piece of heart muscle which can then trigger the symptoms of a heart attack.
If you or someone you’re with experiences any or all of these symptoms, get medical attention immediately. Risk of death from a heart attack is highest within the first two hours of the onset of symptoms.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE YOUR RISK
- Get your blood pressure checked regularly.
- If you smoke, quit now.
- Eat a low-fat, high-fiber diet.
- Exercise regularly.
- Have your blood cholesterol level checked frequently.
- Undergo periodic checks for diabetes.