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Symptoms of a heart attack and tips for a healthy Heart by Dr. Shuvanan Ray

News Correspondent, abptakmaa, Kolkata, 28th Sept 2019 : Heart disease is now becoming very common nowadays inspite of any age. Dr. Shuvanan Roy (Director, Dept. of Cardiac Sciences, Fortis Hospital Anandapur) has given some symptoms of a heart attack and tips for a healthy heart is given below.

Symptoms of A Heart Attack Everyone Should Know

With sedentary lifestyle and junk food becoming a common evil in our health, cardiac diseases have become a household name in the society today. As per recent studies, the age at which cardiac ailments set in has come down to 30-60 years in the recent years. Heart attacks however happen in those people who have multiple risk factors like diabetes, hypertension, family history of heart disease and smoking. If an individual belongs to the above mentioned age band, demonstrates one or more of these risk factors along with any prevalent symptoms of heart attack, he/she should immediately be taken to the hospital for investigations and treatment.

Heart attack can produce a lot of symptoms which are not always very significant. But some of the symptoms are very much typical for heart attack and one should keep them in mind especially if they are in the high risk category or have family members belonging to the same.  The symptoms that are typical of a heart attack are mentioned below:

  1. The symptom specific to heart attack of patients is typically retrosternal pain ie. any pain behind the sternum- right, left or center. Although central pain is the most significant symptom of heart attack, pain in right and left should also not be ignored.  

Classically, we have associated heart attack with very severe chest pain with sweating or vomiting or in some cases, unconsciousness. But, they are present only in minority. Majority of patients experience discomfort in the chest or abdomen with pressure or suffocating feeling.

  1. Any discomfort in the chest, which is new and not relieved within a span of 30mins, in spite of having antacids or lying flat, should be taken to be a possible symptom of heart attack and appropriate steps should be taken without much delay. An immediate visit to the hospital or specialist is inevitable for patients with these symptoms.  
  2. Patients, with heart attack, are quite often referred to cardiologists through gastroenterologists. These people experience upper abdominal distention and take it to be either gas or gall bladder issues, because of which they consult with a gastroenterology specialist. It is then that the gastroenterologist, on identifying the actual cause, immediately sends the patients to a cardiologist.  This is mostly common in case of diabetics.
  3. Sometimes patients, with a severe shoulder or back pain ie. excruciating pain between both the shoulder blades, radiating to the front of the chest or along the medial side of both of arms or up to little fingers. If such a pain is felt and continues for more than 30 minutes, one should ensure that no time is lost and the doctor should immediately be consulted.
  4. Sometimes, patients suffering from a heart attack, also come with a complaint of Jaw Pain, which typically affects the lower jaw.

Any sudden development of any symptoms, from upper abdomen to lower jaw, and if it stays there for 20 minutes or more, especially in a patient which high co-morbidities or high risk factors can be symptom of chest pain. It is of prime importance for a patient with chest pain or heart attack, is to immediately go to the hospital and get an ECG done. Even if the first ECG is normal, one should again repeat an ECG after half an hour. Sometimes it is very difficult to substantiate a heart attack before 2-3 ECGs. Apart from ECG, other investigations like Biochemistry like troponin and ECHO to support the diagnosis of heart attack. 

Tips to keep your heart fit is now given below

  1. Exercise regularly. It can be as simple as regular walking, swimming or cycling. For the younger generation, it can be participating in competitive sports like football.
  2. Reduce of body weight and maintain a BMI <25.
  3. Avoid Junk Food.
  4. Eat more fresh vegetables and fruits.
  5. Say no to Tobacco.
  6. Take alcohol only in social gatherings. Alcohol should be limited to 1-2 pegs for a maximum of 1-2 days a week.
  7. Minimum 5-6 hrs. of sleep at night is mandatory.
  8. Avoid excessive physical exertion unless you are well trained for the same. Publicity : Carpe Diem Communique.

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