Showing posts with label symptoms of heart attack. Show all posts
Showing posts with label symptoms of heart attack. Show all posts

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Would You Recognize a Heart Attack?

When my mother was 65, only one year older than I am now, she had a massive heart attack, followed by triple by-pass surgery the next morning.  Until the heart attack hit her, she thought she was only feeling a little uncomfortable because of the heat that day.  She and my Dad were in the process of cleaning out my grandmother's house after my grandmother had moved to assisted living.  They spent the day cleaning and packing up granny's belongings.  It was a hot summer day and my parents were carrying things in and out of the house, so the fact that my mother was perspiring heavily and feeling a little weak did not alarm her ... until she collapsed.

Symptoms of Heart Attacks 

We are all accustomed to the movie version of heart attacks in which a man puts his hands to his chest and collapses.  However, while this dramatic event will sometimes occur, it is not the first or most likely sign that you may be having a heart attack.  Listed below are the symptoms that both men and women should be concerned about:

Excessive perspiration, including a red face
Shortness of breath when you have not been exerting yourself
A heavy feeling in the chest or back
Achy, flu-like symptoms
Pain in the jaw, neck, back, or chest that doesn't go away
Extreme and sudden weakness or fatigue

All of these symptoms are especially alarming if they come on quickly and they are not relieved when you sit or lie down.   However, if you are experiencing these symptoms and cannot figure out why, you need to seriously consider the possibility that you are having a heart attack.

As you'll see in the comment section below, Domestic Diva said, "Your warning symptoms should be taken seriously. I think one of the reactions you'll find experienced by many heart attack survivors is that what they felt was somehow different. It wasn't quite like indigestion they've had before, or a flu they've suffered in the past. If you've lived to your 60s and experience a discomfort you've never had in all those years, it's worth getting checked out."  I moved her comment up here because I thought her words were something everyone should read.

Heart Disease Does Not Discriminate

When you read the list of symptoms above, many of them can also indicate very common illnesses, such as the flu, a strained muscle, or heat exhaustion.  Because many heart attack symptoms are vague, it is no wonder that my mother thought she was simply suffering from the effects of the heat.  Although she was a smoker, she was not over-weight and she had no history of heart disease.  She had no idea that she was in the process of having a heart attack until she collapsed and woke up in the hospital.

Many people still think of heart disease as an illness that primarily kills men.  However, nothing could be further from the truth.  Women are actually about 15% more likely to have a heart attack than men, and they have double the chance of having a heart attack within six years of the first one.

Everyone should know that heart attacks kill women as well as men.  In addition, women (and their family members) need to know that women, in particular, can have a heart attack and never experience any chest pain!  About one out of three women will die of heart disease.  About two-thirds of them will have no prior symptoms. 

Our family was fortunate.  My mother is still alive at age 81, sixteen years after her heart attack and open heart surgery.  She has gone on to live an active lifestyle and, until recently, played golf on a regular basis. While she is suffering from other age-related health problems today, I'm pleased that she was able to survive her heart attack sixteen years ago.

For more information about this killer disease, go to the website of The American Heart Association.

If you are nearing retirement age and want more information about how to have a higher quality of life during your retirement years, please check out the index articles below.  They contain links to a number of helpful articles on a variety of topics.

Gifts, Travel and Family Relationships

Great Places for Boomers to Retire Overseas

Great Places to Retire in the United States

Health and Medical Topics for Baby Boomers

Money and Financial Planning for Retirement

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Thursday, December 22, 2011

Danger of Fatal Holiday Heart Attacks

Heart Attacks Hit
Without Warning
(Photo by
I heard on ABC News just prior to Christmas a few years ago that deaths from heart attacks are more likely to occur around the holidays.  In particular, people seem to die more frequently from heart attacks if they occur on Christmas Day, the day after Christmas, or New Years Day.

Why Do More People Die From Heart Attacks During the Holidays?

Although the researchers did not know with absolute certainty why more people die when they have a heart attack on a holiday, the reporters hypothesized that it may be because people are reluctant to ask to be taken to the hospital on a holiday, because they don't want to interrupt all the the festivities.  

Because of this, it is especially important to keep an eye out for elderly relatives during other significant events ... family weddings, after the death of a loved one, reunions, etc.  These are also occasions when people may not want to disturb everyone else with complaints about pain or discomfort.

In addition, it is possible that people who have just eaten a heavy meal of rich food may mistake a heart attack for indigestion.  It is not an unusual confusion.

How Can You Tell the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Indigestion?

First, heart attacks are not experienced the same way by everyone.  While a woman may feel the pain in her arm or jaw, a man may feel as though is chest is being squeezed.  Later, the pain may migrate to a man's shoulder, arm or jaw, too.  Many people mistake their symptoms for indigestion.  However, if the pain is constant, rather than coming and going, and it doesn't get better when you lay down, it could very well be a heart attack.

Other Ways to Recognize a Heart Attack

There are also other clues that could indicate a heart attack.  For example, a common symptom is that the person will have trouble breathing.  They may also begin to sweat heavily, because of the stress the body is under.  They may feel as if their pulse is irregular, racing or skipping beats.

What to Do if You Suspect You or Someone Else is Having a Heart Attack

If you or someone you love experiences any of these symptoms during the holidays, or any other time of the year, do not wait to get them treated. Rush them to the hospital, or call 9-1-1. The sooner a heart attack victim is treated, the more likely they are to live.

To stay up to date with medical and retirement news affecting Baby Boomers, use the tabs or pull down menu at the top of the page to find links to hundreds of additional articles.

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