What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?
March 6, 2024

What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?

Heart attacks occur in the U.S. approximately every 40 seconds. How do you know you're having one?

According to the American Heart Association, heart attacks occur in the U.S. approximately every 40 seconds, making heart disease the leading cause of death across the nation. This startling statistic underscores the importance of understanding the complexities and risks associated with heart disease.

At Nexus HealthSpan, we are committed to providing individuals in and around the Lake Forest, CA area with education and resources to help them manage and reduce their risks of heart disease. Led by Zachary Lott, a nurse practitioner and cardiovascular disease specialist, our team is here to answer any questions you may have and provide personalized guidance to help you enjoy a healthier, more balanced life.

What causes heart attacks?

We often hear that heart attacks are caused by a buildup of plaque inside the arteries blocking the flow of blood, but this only tells part of the story. The other piece of the puzzle relates to inflammation in the arterial walls, which can cause plaques to rupture. These injuries inside the artery trigger your body's healing response, leading to a blood clot (thrombus) that stops the steady flow of oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle. Over time, this lack of oxygenated blood can lead to tissue death and a cardiac event — which is why time is a crucial factor when it comes to recognizing heart attack symptoms.

What are the signs of a heart attack?

Recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack can save lives. The most well-known symptom is chest pain or discomfort, often described as a feeling of pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest. However, symptoms can vary greatly between individuals. Other signs include discomfort in other areas of the upper body, shortness of breath, cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness. It's crucial to note that symptoms can be different for men and women, with women more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

How can you prevent a heart attack?

Preventing a heart attack involves managing the risk factors within your control. This includes adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle by eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, quitting smoking, and maintaining a healthy weight. Regular check-ups to monitor heart health, managing stress, and controlling conditions like hypertension, cholesterol, and diabetes are also vital steps. These actions not only help prevent a heart attack but also contribute to overall well-being.

What role does a cardiovascular disease specialist play in heart attack prevention?

Cardiovascular health is a complex topic, which is why it's important to work with a specialist like Zachary to manage your heart health. He can provide personalized, ongoing assessments of your cardiovascular health, identify potential risk factors, and offer tailored advice on lifestyle changes to help with heart attack prevention. He can also recommend appropriate medical treatments and help guide you through the recovery process if you've already experienced a heart attack.

Recognize heart attack symptoms

Understanding and recognizing the symptoms of a heart attack are critical in seeking timely medical help and potentially avoiding a tragic outcome. By staying informed and proactive about heart health, you can significantly reduce your risk of heart attacks and lead a healthier life.

If you live in the Lake Forest, CA area and are concerned about heart attack risks or seeking ways to improve your cardiovascular health, we urge you to contact Zachary Lott and the team at Nexus HealthSpan in Mission Viejo, CA. Together, you can work toward a heart-healthy future.