Heart Attack Warning Signs
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense but most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected arenít sure whatís wrong and wait too long before getting help. Dr. Edward Hill discusses the warning signs of a heart attack in todayís 60 Second Housecall.

A heart attack is when part of the heart muscle is damaged or dies because it isnít receiving oxygen. Most heart attacks are caused by a blockage in the arteries. Usually the blockage is caused by atherosclerosis, which is the buildup of fatty deposits inside the artery.

Heart attacks can also be caused by a blood clot that gets stuck in a narrow part of an artery to the heart.

The pain of a heart attack can feel like bad heartburn. You may be having a heart attack if you:

* Feel pressure or crushing pain in your chest, sometimes with sweating, nausea or vomiting

* Feel pain that extends from your chest into the jaw, left arm or left shoulder

* Feel tightness in your chest

* Have shortness of breath for more than a couple of seconds

Donít ignore the pain or discomfort. If you think you are having heart problems or a heart attack, get help immediately. The sooner you get treatment, the greater the chance that doctors can prevent further damage to the heart muscle.

For North Mississippi Medical Center, Iím Dr. Edward Hill.