A heart attack is a medical emergency whereby there’s a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle. Without enough blood and oxygen your heart can be seriously damaged so it is imperative to act on the warning signs immediately. Unfortunately, many heart attack fatalities are the result of a delayed response to symptoms.
There are many reasons why someone may delay their response but one crucial factor is insufficient knowledge of the warning signs.
Popular depictions of heart attacks involve chest pain but there are other ways your body can communicate the deadly heart condition.
In fact, a study published in the Biomed Research International Journal sought to fill this knowledge gap.
The aim was to determine the level of knowledge of signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke in the Singapore resident population, in comparison to the global community.
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“The fitter you are, the lower your resting heart rate is likely to be. For example, athletes may have a resting heart rate of 40 to 60bpm, or lower,” says the health site.
It adds: “See a GP to get checked if you think your heart rate is continuously above 120bpm or below 40bpm, although it may simply be that this is normal for you.”
Other symptoms highlighted in the study included:
- Pain that radiates from the chest area to the neck, arms, shoulders, or the jaw,
- Shortness of breath
- Chills and sweating
- Cold and clammy skin, grey pallor, a severe appearance of illness.
How to respond to the warning signs
It’s essential to dial 999 if you have symptoms that could be a heart attack, or if your heart symptoms get worse, according to the British Heart Foundation (BHF).
One of the most important is to commit to a heart-healthy diet, such as a Mediterranean-style diet.
This means eating more bread, fruit, vegetables and fish, and less meat.
Research into this style of eating has shown a reduced risk of developing problems such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and raised cholesterol – all risk factors for heart disease, says the BHF.
“Researchers have also found that people who closely follow a Mediterranean diet are more likely to live a longer life and are less likely to become obese,” it adds.