There’s a big difference between symptoms and signs of a medical issue. For example, the signs of a heart attack can be observed by others while its symptoms are exclusively experienced by the person actually having the heart attack. The reason it’s also important to be aware of the signs as a passive observer is so you can take action in the event no one else can tell someone is having a heart attack.
Primary Signs of a Heart Attack
Even though they are caused by similar reasons, heart attacks affect every victim of one differently. There aren’t a lot of outward signs, so it can be hard to tell if somebody is having one. The most common physical symptoms of a heart attack include chest pain and/or pressure in the chest. Often a victim will be short of breath or suffer pain or pressure in one or both arms (usually the left), or even the neck or jaw.
– Breathing fast
– Rubbing or clutching arm or chest (indicating pain in these areas)
– Pale or grey complexion
– Profuse sweating
– Skin cool or clammy to the touch (indicating cool temperature and moist skin due to pain or shock)
Other Signs of a Potential Heart Attack
Though this next sign is more anecdotal rather than official, it’s one bystanders always seem to notice – a sense of the victim being suddenly distracted mid-sentence or conversation about something else. This is often experienced by the victim as ” a feeling of impending doom”- as though the patient actually felt or believed they were about to die. It’s not hard to understand why such a feeling would inspire someone to become overly distracted, but it’s important to know how this observable behavior can be interpreted in a way that might save someone’s life.
What to Do if Someone is Having a Heart Attack Near You
The more of these symptoms you notice, the higher likelihood it is that this person is indeed having a heart attack. If you suspect any of your loved ones are experiencing this life-threatening condition, immediately call 911 if they don’t respond to verbal cues or questions. Don’t ask if anything is wrong (this could raise their blood pressure and worsen the attack) but ask them why they’re rubbing their arm and/or why they’re out of breath. Ask them if they’re feeling any pain or pressure in their chest. Their answer (or lack of answer) might be a clue as to how severe this situation is.
If you determine that this person needs to be medically evacuated ASAP, call 911. The paramedics should have the tools to get treatment started immediately, if necessary. Any possibility of a heart attack should always be taken as seriously as if it were the real thing.
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