Heartburn or Heart Attack?

Pain in your chest can be difficult to interpret. The cause of the pain could be something as simple as heartburn or as serious as a heart attack. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Every minute is crucial if you are having a heart attack. If you experience any of these symptoms, dial 911 or go to the nearest emergency room immediately:

  • Chest discomfort or pressure that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Nausea
  • Dizzinesss

Symptoms may be different for women. Most women feel pressure in their chest instead of sharp pains and are likely to experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Pain or discomfort in the back or jaw

Time is critically important! Time is muscle when it comes to a heart attack. The quicker a heart attack or chest pain is stopped, the more heart muscle can be saved and prevented from damage. Do not delay. Call 911 immediately.

Is my heart Permanently Damaged?

When a heart attack occurs, the heart muscle that has lost blood supply begins to die. The amount of damage to the heart muscle depends on the size of the area supplied by the blocked artery and the time between injury and treatment. Damage to the heart muscle from a heart attack heals by forming scar tissue. It usually takes a month to several weeks for your heart muscle to heal. The length of time depends on the extent of your injury and your own rate of healing. The heart is a very tough organ. Even though a part of it may have died, the rest keeps working. But because your heart has been damaged, it is weaker and can't pump as much blood as usual. However, with proper treatment and lifestyle changes, further damage can be limited or prevented. Learn more about heart damage detection.

(source: http://www.heart.org)

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