Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke

In our previous articles, we discussed about the common types of heart diseases and their resulting conditions. Now let us see what the warning signs of heart attack and stroke are.

Many of us think that heart attack is a sudden thing as shown in the movies, where a person holds his or her chest and falls over. But, in reality, many heart attacks start as a mild discomfort. The signs are so tricky that even a person who already suffered a heart attack may not recognize the signs, because the next time he may have entirely different symptoms.

However, there are some common signs. Learn them, but also remember that when you’re confused and not able to judge whether it is heart attack or not, take the victim to doctor immediately, as every minute matters, if it is a heart attack.

Heart attack warning signs

  • Discomfort in the chest: Most of the heart attacks give a discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than few minutes. This discomfort may also come and go. The victim may suffer uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or fullness in the chest.
  • Discomfort in other parts of the body: The discomfort may spread to other areas of the upper body. Discomfort may happen in either or both of the arms or in the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath: When there is a discomfort in chest, the victim may feel shortness of breath. However, it may occur before the chest discomfort.
  • Other symptoms: Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Though chest pain or discomfort is a common symptom for both men and women, women are somewhat more likely to experience other common symptoms, like shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Warning signs of stroke

Many people confuse stroke with heart attack. But stroke happens because of brain failure, which results from the lack of blood flow to the brain cells. Many effects of stroke are reversible when the treatment is provided on time. But the main issue lies in recognizing the warning signs and taking the stroke victim to hospital. Below are the warning signs of stroke.

If one or more of these signs are present, don’t delay in taking the person to hospital.

  • A sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Unable to see clearly with one or both the eyes
  • Trouble in walking, dizziness, loss of balance, and coordination
  • Sudden and severe headache without any cause

Recognizing stroke

  • Unlike in case of heart attacks, a bystander can recognize a stroke victim by applying the following technique
  • Remember the first three letters of stroke which are S S T R
  • Just ask these simple questions in the same order of above letters
    • S – Ask the person to ‘smile’
    • S – Ask him to ‘stick out his tongue’
    • T – Ask the person to ‘talk a simple sentence’ like today is Monday
    • R – Ask him to ‘raise both the arms’

If the person is unable to do any one of the above mentioned actions – then it is a clear indication of stroke. Immediate medical attention is advised.

‘Prevention is better than cure’, most particularly in case of lifestyle diseases like heart diseases. According to the experts, people with diabetes, high blood cholesterol, high blood pressure, obesity, family history of heart diseases, smoking habit, etc., are more likely to suffer a heart disease than a healthy person. Know how to prevent heart diseases, which we discussed in our next article.

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