This article appeared at HeartCenterOn line.
It was edited by Robert I. Hamby, M.D., FACC, FACP.
It may save your life!
Call 9-1-1 immediately if you experience symptoms of a possible heart attack:
- Chest pain or discomfort that is unrelieved by rest or a change in position and often spreads or radiates through the upper body to the arms, neck, shoulders or jaw
- Chest-area pressure or squeezing sensation that may be either constant or intermittent
- Shortness of breath or shallow breathing
- Abnormally weak and/or fast pulse
- Feeling like you're going to faint
- Sweating, often heavy and often cold
- Nausea or upset stomach
- WOMEN may be more likely to experience a feeling of severe indigestion or pain in the breast when they are having a heart attack.
If you think you might be having a heart attack, it's better to be safe than sorry: call 9-1-1 and then chew an adult aspirin (or four baby aspirins) while waiting for help to arrive.
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You should also call 9-1-1 if you experience symptoms of a possible stroke:
- Blindness in one eye or hearing problems in one ear
- Dizziness or loss of balance/coordination
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Numbness or weakness on one side of the body – the side opposite from where the stroke has occurred
- Severe headache
- Trouble speaking or understanding speech
- Pain upon looking at or into a light
- Painful or stiff neck
PLEASE NOTE: Whereas chewing an aspirin is often recommended for people who think they might be having a heart attack, people should NOT take aspirin if they think they might be having a stroke. Aspirin could make a stroke worse.
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When in doubt about whether you might be experiencing a heart attack or stroke, call your doctor or go to the emergency room. You should not attempt to drive yourself or walk to the emergency room.
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Other symptoms that need to be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible include the following:
- Pain in the legs that worsens when walking
- Rapid or galloping heartbeats (palpitations)
- Any sudden worsening in a symptom or condition
- Dizzy spells or fainting
- Feeling tired all the time
- Swelling in the lower legs/ankles
- Abdominal pain or bloating that doesn't go away after passing gas or a bowel movement
- Finally, symptoms that are noticed after a procedure or surgery should be discussed with your doctor. Sometimes a doctor will say that the symptoms are perfectly normal, though they may continue to worry you. In those situations, try to relax and focus on your recovery, letting your doctor know if the symptoms get any worse.
These pages are not to be misconstrued as medical advice--we are not doctors. Only your doctor can give you medical advice.
Source : www.HeartCenterOnLine. It was edited by Robert I. Hamby, M.D., FACC, FACP.
Last Modified on August 24, 2007