Health is one of the greatest bounties from God, that one can be bestowed with. Being a physician i really hope for my patients to be aware of the most dreaded, life altering ailments, especially those that can be prevented with knowledge and the slightest amount of changes in ones life. Being aware of your enemie’s characteristics, helps you in defeating him better, so lets take a look at one very popular enemy of mankind -heart attacks.
Just the other day I had a relative complaining of a feeling of increased heart rate (in his words).
On admission and further checkup he was diagnosed with a heart attack (acute myocardial infarction) It caused a great emotional strain on the entire family during the time the patient was hospitalised, not to mention the financial constraints that come with it, sucking in all your life’s savings. More so when the patient is the sole breadwinner of the family. So here’s shedding some light on the common signs and symptoms of a heart attack…
Read it for the sake of your mumma or pappa, your granddad or grandma or better for your ownself:
1. Tightness or pain in the chest.
This is the most common sign that you are going to get a heart attack. It is usually described as a feeling that begins in the centre of the chest and spreads outwards, best described using a clenched fist placed over the centre of the chest (when asked to locate the pain)
If you are feeling exhausted, tired, listless, throughout the day, even after having a good sleep, rest, then its a cause of concern. It is very common to feel fatigued at the end of a hard day at work or due to lack of sleep or not eating well. But there is no such reason behind your symptoms then it is advisable that you get yourself checked
3. Gastrointestinal symptoms
They can range from nausea, indigestion, heartburn, stomach pain, or mere cramps. These can also be due to the consumption of spicy food, or food poisoning, or being on your periods. (menstrual cramps)
4. Radiating pain
Pain radiating to the left side of the body, above the level of the heart like arm, neck, jaw or below the level of the heart upto the umbilicus, is all indicative of a heart attack
Excessive,Sudden in onset, not resolving even after sitting under a fan or in an airconditioned room. This is one of the rre silent but most prominent symptoms that you are having a heart attack
6. Irregular heartbeat.
Described by the patient as increased heart rate, or palpitations that is a feeling of one’s own heartbeat, could be an indicator of an underlying heart disease other than heart attack like SVT (supra ventricular tachycardia)
Especially after an accustomed physical activity or at rest. It indicates the presence of heart disease, or a lung problem. The feeling of breathlessness might not go away even after going to a window for a bout of fresh air or changing into loose clothing. It’s more commonly described as a difficulty in breathing by the patient.
8. Sleep disturbances
Can be in the form of difficulty to sleep, frequent visits to the bathroom (Can also be due to old age, bladder problems, prostate hypertrophy in old males or sphincter abnormalities in females) , getting thirsty at night.
What if you are getting any of these symptoms,
- Call for help
- Rush to the hospital
- Remember the dictum ‘time is muscle’ i.e. the earlier you reach the hospital and get diagnosed, and get your treatment started the more heart muscle you have salvaged, which is very important for your longevity
How to prevent a heart attack
You can improve your health and reduce your chances of having a heart attack by making a few dietary changes in your lifestyle.
- Dietary changes- consume a diet low in cholesterol and unsaturated fatty acids. (no butter, margarine, red meat)
- Include omega -3 fatty acids in your diet that are good for your heart muscle. (as oral supplements or by consuming fish or fish oil)
- No extra salt in diet other than that used in preparation of meals
- Physical activity: do some form of exercise either yoga, zumba, aerobics, jogging, running for a min of 20mins daily. The aim is to get your heart rate up than usual so as to increase your endurance.
Eat healthy, live happy, and take care of yourself.
If you have any questions, comments, or doubts feel free to write them below.