A heart attack happens when arteries get completely blocked and the heart is deprived of oxygen because blood can't get through the blockage. When the heart is deprived of oxygen, its cells start to die. The chest pain that most people associate with heart attacks is the heart's way of calling out for help when it starts dying. Most heart attacks aren't as dramatically painful as the movies suggest. The symptoms of a heart attack are varied, and can be mild and take weeks to manifest. Chest pain is the most common sign, but 16 percent of heart attack sufferers don't experience that at all. Women are much less likely to have chest pain before a heart attack and more likely to experience symptoms (like fatigue) that could be mistaken for some other ailment.
With so are many different warning signs, it's not easy to know whether a symptom like nausea or a racing heart is signalling a heart attack. In most cases, though, and especially if you have several risk factors for heart attack, it's better to call for professional help as soon as possible. The sooner you get treatment, the better the chance of survival. You should never wait more than five minutes if you think you might be having a heart attack.
In our next blog we shall be discussing some common symptoms of a heart attack.