Over one million U.S adults succumb to heart attacks on a yearly basis. Ultimately, heart attack – medically referred to as myocardial infarction (MI) – is marked by a permanent damage in the heart, due to the lack of blood supply to the heart tissue, which makes it starve to death.
A month prior to a heart attack, your body warns you through several signals. Here are the symptoms you need to watch for:
Men and women are likely to present with chest discomfort before having a heart attack. However, the intensity and form of chest pain vary greatly, since women experience a pressing and squeezing chest pain, whereas men experience a stabbing and burning chest pain.
Actually, men are more prone to develop this symptom, since only 30% of women deal with chest discomfort prior to a heart attack. That’s why men should pay close attention to the signs.
Chest pain can create an unpleasant sensation in several areas, including one or both arms (mostly the left one), the lower jaw, neck, shoulders and stomach. This sensation may be long-lasting or transient.
Insomnia or the inability to initiate or maintain sleep can occur due to several reasons, including acute psychiatric and medical conditions, unhealthy sleeping patterns, and the use of specific substances. But it can signal a more serious condition.
Generally, 50% of women are susceptible to sleeplessness, often accompanied by anxiety and absent-mindedness, prior to a heart attack or a stroke. Men can also present with this symptom before a heart attack.
For this reason, if you struggle to fall asleep, find difficulty staying asleep, or you wake up recurrently in the early morning hours, you are probably at a high risk of having a heart attack.
Irregular Heart Beat:
Triggered by an impending heart attack, irregular heart beat occurs without the influence of external factors. More often than not, heart arrhythmia is paired with a panic attack and anxiety, chiefly among women.
As a matter of fact, these symptoms appear suddenly and manifest themselves in different ways, like arrhythmia (irregular heart beat) or tachycardia (increased heart rate). Physical activity can cause your heart rate to climb, especially if you suffer from atherosclerosis.
Bear in mind that irregular heart beat lasts for one to two minutes. If it doesn’t dissipate, you might feel dizzy and fatigued. In this event, call your doctor immediately.
Shortness of Breath:
Statistically speaking, 40% of heart attack cases present with shortness of breath- also known as dyspnea. Basically, asthma, and other lung and heart conditions can be the culprit of this inability to inhale a deep breath. But it can also be a red flag sign that a heart attack is looming on the horizon.
Both men and women can experience shortness of breath up to 6 months prior to actually having a heart attack.
Whether it’s due to an imminent heart attack or another medical condition, this symptom should not go unnoticed and requires medical assistance. So, when you can’t breathe properly, you feel dizzy and short of breath, consult your doctor.
Hair loss commonly affects men over the age of 50. But women can also be a victim. Of course, hair loss is governed by many factors, such as genetics, hormonal changes, and medical conditions. Yet, sudden and heavy hair loss can be another warning sign of a forthcoming heart attack.
In principle, baldness is also linked to a higher production of cortisol, the body’s main stress hormone. That being said, if your hair line remarkably recedes, or you lose hair from a specific part of your body, especially the crown of your head, you may have a reason for concern.
Abdominal pain, empty or full stomach nausea, bloating, upset stomach are common symptoms of an impending heart attack. Women and men have equal chances of experiencing these symptoms.
Abdominal discomfort episodes come and go in a brief amount of time. Physical tension might exacerbate stomach pain as well.
Remember that obesity, the lack of activity, and tobacco use can increase your risk of a heart attack. Other often overlooked risk factors include:
- Earlobe crease lies diagonally from the ear canal.
- Yellowish skin patcheson the eyelids
- Light soreness in the calf muscles, usually from walking.
- Ear canal hair(among men).
- Early hair graying(among men).
You don’t have to become a total hypochondriac, just be careful of the above mentioned symptoms.