A heart attack occurs when blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly become thicker and harder from a buildup of fat, cholesterol, and plaque. With no oxygen, the heart muscle supplied by the artery begins to die.
Half of all people having a heart attack wait more than two hours before getting help. Every minute you wait, more heart muscle dies—and the longer recovery will be.
If you or someone close to you shows signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 and get help right away!
Signs of a Heart Attack
Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. It can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
Discomfort in Other Areas of the Upper Body
Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
Shortness of Breath
This may occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness.