Act Fast to Protect Your Heart

Older woman sitting on sofa with hand over heart.

Minutes Matter When It Comes to Your Heart

If you’ve ever been sick and ignored your symptoms hoping you’d simply feel better, you aren’t alone. While that may work with minor health concerns like allergies, when it comes to your heart, delaying care can have dangerous consequences.

That’s why it’s important to be able to recognize heart attack and cardiac arrest symptoms in yourself or in others. When they occur, emergency medical attention is needed—so don’t delay.

Why Emergency Care Is Needed

Why is it so important to receive prompt care if you are exhibiting symptoms that may be heart-related?

It’s because every minute matters when it comes to your heart. The National Institutes of Health reports that of those who die from heart attacks, around half will die within an hour of their first symptoms.

Delaying care can be dangerous and even deadly. Seeking immediate medical attention when exhibiting symptoms that may be related to the heart can allow medical professionals to provide interventional treatment options that can stop damage in its tracks.

Symptoms to Watch For

You’ll note that we’ve talked about both heart attacks and cardiac arrests. While you hear a lot about heart attacks, cardiac arrests are also a heart health emergency.

The two names are often mentioned as being one and the same, but they are different. A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart is blocked, while cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops beating.

It’s important to recognize the symptoms related to both. A heart attack is likely to cause:

  • Chest discomfort
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or weakness
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Pain in the jaw, neck or back
  • Pain in one or both arms, or shoulders
  • Shortness of breath

Many of these symptoms also occur before sudden cardiac arrest. But other symptoms may indicate that a cardiac arrest has occurred:

  • Cessation of breathing
  • Collapse
  • Lack of pulse
  • Loss of consciousness

Because symptoms of heart attack or preliminary cardiac arrest overlap with other minor medical conditions, you may be tempted to disregard them. But it’s far better to be safe than sorry—seek immediate medical attention if you’re experiencing any heart-related symptoms.

AU Medical Center was the first hospital in the region to achieve national accreditation from the American College of Cardiology as a Chest Pain Center. If you are experiencing signs of a heart attack or other heart health issue, call 911 for immediate emergency attention.

Read on Jagwire to find out more about news and stories happening at Augusta University and AU Health.

About the author

Augusta University Health

Based in Augusta, Georgia, Augusta University Health is a world-class health care network, offering the most comprehensive primary, specialty and subspecialty care in the region. Augusta University Health provides skilled, compassionate care to its patients, conducts leading-edge clinical research and fosters the medical education and training of tomorrow’s health care practitioners. Augusta University Health is a not-for-profit corporation that manages the clinical operations associated with Augusta University.