Health 101: What You Need to Know About Heart Attacks

Heart attack is one of the main causes of death every year. It happens when there’s a lack of oxygenated blood flow to the coronary arteries because of plaque buildup, causing permanent damage to the heart. Heart attacks can strike anytime and that is why it’s crucial to know what to do when it happens.

“Heart attacks can happen anytime, sometimes without any warning. It’s important for people to be fully informed on how to prevent heart attacks, how to accurately identify a heart attack and the steps to take when it happens. Some of the essential things you should know are the symptoms and how to perform first aid when you or a loved one suffers a heart attack. Heart attacks, whether silent or recognized, should not be taken lightly because it can cause sudden death if not treated or acted upon immediately,” said Dr. Nicky Montoya, President of MediCard.

Experiencing a heart attack is not a joke. Here’s what you need to know about heart attacks:

The warning signs
  • Paying attention to warning signs can save you or your loved one. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense while others start slowly. That’s why you need to spot the early warning signs and symptoms of a heart attack: chest discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea or lightheadedness, cold sweat, and pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Even if you’re not sure that you’re experiencing symptoms of heart attack, it is better to consult your doctor about it because patients usually make the mistake of ignoring these signs or waiting too long before they ask for help.
Silent heart attacks
  • A silent heart attack has more subtle signs wherein a person experiences minimal or unrecognized symptoms or no symptoms at all. It can be as dangerous as a recognized one because the attack often leaves scarring and serious damage to the heart. Signs of a heart attack can easily be shrugged off because they are common aches, like experiencing extreme fatigue, indigestion, flu-like symptoms and jaw, shoulder or neck pain. 
  • People who experienced silent heart attacks realize it only after going through tests like Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) or electrocardiogram (EKG). People who suffered silent heart attacks are at risk of having potentially greater and fatal heart attacks.
First aid
  • Heart attacks, silent or recognized, can happen anytime, and it is important that you know exactly what to do when you or a loved one suffers from an attack. Keep in mind that acting quickly and getting help immediately can help lessen heart damage and heighten the chances of survival. First, call 911, the emergency hotline, immediately. If you are the one suffering a heart attack, do not attempt to drive on your own as this will only endanger you and others on the road. Keep calm and chew an aspirin – which can prevent blood clotting – if they are not allergic to it. If the person is unconscious, administer cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
Heart attack prevention
  • Dr. Montoya advises several ways to prevent heart attack. These include maintaining a healthy blood pressure, monitoring your cholesterol, quitting smoking, exercising, eating a balanced diet which contains fruits, vegetables, fiber-rich whole grains and fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and most importantly, having regular check-ups.
If you are experiencing symptoms of heart attack, consult a doctor immediately. MediCard has numerous free-standing clinics located in key cities nationwide that offer cardiology consultations and tests. Visit a MediCard clinic near you or check out their website at for more information.

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