What Happens When Someone Has a Heart Attack?

Knowing what happens when someone has a heart attack is critical for everyone who has a heart ailment or just health conscious. The following are some of the most common heart attack symptoms and what you should do in case they manifest.

Understanding cardiac disease symptoms is also very helpful in finding out whether you have a heart attack or any other cardiac disease.

Chest Pains

The most frequent experience felt is tightness of the chest. This is also described as heaviness or as if there’s something heavy resting on it. Another one is that of the chest area being squeezed. Often the chest pain expands to the arms and shoulders. It can also reach the neck.

It’s possible that this feeling be brought about by fatigue. However in the case of a stroke it can last for a minute or more. At any rate it’s much better to go to the doctor and have it checked out.


Other heart attack symptoms include feelings of numbness. Some liken the feeling to having pins being stuck in the hands or feet. Usually the numbness is experienced in the chest area. However, feeling numb in the hands and feet can also be signs of a stroke.


The other indications of stroke are the feelings of nausea and dizziness. The dizzy spells can occur suddenly or slowly. But invariably they lead to difficulty of breathing. Unlike those brought about by fatigue, this spell can last for 15 minutes or more. When that happens go to a doctor immediately.

Silent Strokes

The heart attack symptoms here are different. Among them are heartburn or just feeling light in the head. What makes this difficult to detect is that the aforementioned symptoms are usually dismissed. These silent strokes are more common in women than men. It also occurs more frequently among people 65+ years and older.

Angina Pectoris

This usually takes place before a stroke. For people without any heart ailments but experience chest pains, this could be a sign of angina. The pain is usually brought about by physical or emotional stress. If you suddenly have trouble breathing, when you’ve never had the problem before is another angina symptom. Frequent indigestion is another indication.

What You Should Do

There are several things you can do when you or someone shows heart attack symptoms.

If there is chest pain for 15 minutes or more call a doctor. In the meantime take an aspirin. This helps the heart obtain more blood. Next you should go to the hospital.

If the person is unconscious, check for the pulse. Examine the chest to see if it’s moving. Next you can set your two fingers on the throat. Check for signs of the carotid pulse.

If there is no breathing lift both legs 18 inches upwards. This helps blood circulate towards the heart. Next, place your hand on the lower portion of the sternum. Pump it a couple of times. This can help the heart move again. Whether it works or not, call a doctor.

Even if you’re healthy, knowing what heart attack symptoms are is critical. By knowing the signs and some first aid, you can save lives.

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