What is a heart attack? 

A heart attack, also known as acute myocardial infarction (AMI), occurs when the blood supply to the heart is blocked. Due to the lack of oxygen, the heart muscle begins to deteriorate. 

When having a heart attack, the longer you wait to seek treatment, the more damage the heart muscle may sustain.

What are the symptoms of a heart attack? 

The symptoms of a heart attack differ from person to person. Typical heart attack symptoms are: 
  • Intense aching in the left side or center of the chest.
  • A feeling of extreme pressure, fullness, or tightness in the chest. 
  • Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, neck, or jaw.
  • Nausea, dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath, or a cold sweat.
  Women, older patients and patients with diabetes may have atypical symptoms like feeling shortness of breath with no chest pain, nausea/vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue and indigestion.

What can you do to prevent a heart attack?

You can lower your risk of having a heart attack by making healthy lifestyle choices: 
  • Eat a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
  • Control your blood pressure. 
  • Have your blood cholesterol checked as recommended.
  • Quit smoking tobacco including cigarettes, e-cigarettes, water pipes/shishas and pipes.
  • Exercise on a regular basis as directed by your doctor. 
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Treat related conditions such as diabetes. 
  • Discuss your family medical history with your doctor. 

What should you do if you or someone else is having a heart attack? 

  • A heart attack is an emergency. Call 999 if you think that you (or someone else) may be having a heart attack. Prompt treatment of a heart attack can help prevent or limit lasting damage to the heart and prevent sudden death.
  • When having a heart attack, the longer you wait to get treatment the more the heart muscle may be damaged. If you experience any of the signs and symptoms, you should call 999 and get to a hospital immediately. 
  • Never drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no choice.

Be aware and have a plan 

  • Educate yourself and look out for the signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
  • Talk with your health care provider about your heart attack risk and what you can do to reduce it. 
  • Talk with your family members, friends and co-workers about heart attack warning signs and the importance of acting fast.
  • If you or someone close to you is experiencing any of the symptoms of a heart attack, act fast. 
  • Call 999 right away
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