What is a heart attack?
A heart attack is a severe condition where the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
What are the causes?
Thrombosis (blood clotting)
Lifestyle – diet, drinking, smoking
What are the symptoms?
A sudden feeling of severe chest pain, pressure, tightness, squeezing or aching in the chest can all be signs that a person is having a heart attack. The pain can radiate into arms (yes both arms, not just the left arm) and spread to the neck, jaw, back and between the shoulders. The pain can sometimes be mistaken for indigestion.
Other symptoms include:-
- crushing chest pain
- shortness of breath called dyspnea
- face looking grey
- a sense of impending doom
- feeling awful, generally
- feeling clammy and sweaty
- shortness of breath
What to do if someone is having a heart attack?
Call 999 or 112 immediately to get help and tell them that you think someone is having a heart attack.
Keep the patient comfortable, ideally on the floor, with their knees bent and their head supported.
If you think the casualty is in danger where they are, move them to a safer location.
If the casualty becomes unresponsive, perform CPR.
In our First Aid Courses we talk about this in more detail.
What you should not do
Move patient, unless they are in danger.
Give them anything to eat or drink.
How can you reduce the risk of a heart attack?
The best way of preventing a heart attack is to have a healthy lifestyle and regular health checks.
Below is a list of ways you can ensure a healthy lifestyle:
- not smoking
- eating a balanced and healthy diet
- taking regular exercise
- getting plenty of good quality sleep
- keeping diabetes under control
- not consuming too much alcohol
- keeping your cholesterol at a safe level
- maintaining a healthy blood pressure level
- controlling your body weight
- avoiding stress
When should you call 999?
As soon as you suspect someone is having a heart attack, or even if you are unsure.
Envesca offer a number of different first aid courses, which offer advice and guidance on heart attacks.