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World Heart Day 2019: Know what to do if you are faced with a heart attack

studies suggest that eating even 3g of oats a day can help reduce cholesterol levels by five to ten per cent. © Shutterstock

A heart attack is a medical emergency and any delay in treatment can result in death. On this World Heart Day, know what to do if you or a loved one face this condition.

Written by Jahnavi Sarma |Published : September 29, 2019 2:56 PM IST

September 29 is World Heart Day. On this occasion, let us see what you can do if you are ever faced with a heart attack. You may get a heart attack if there is a block in an artery that carries blood to your heart. This blockage usually happens because of plaque build-up on the walls of the artery. At times, these deposits can break off. If this happens, the clots can stick to the damaged area and block the flow of blood. This causes heart attack.

Symptoms of a heart attack

The first indication of a heart attack is usually chest pain. Sometimes, this may manifest as a mild pain or discomfort along with a feeling of pressure of squeezing. This feeling may disappear only to come back again after some time. It may also be a radiating pain that goes all the way to your arms, back, jaws, teeth and also your stomach. That is why it is often mistaken for reflux. This may be accompanied by shortness of breath, numbness or tingling of arms, dizziness, feeling of nausea, cold sweats, feeling of indigestion and abnormal tiredness.

Symptoms may be different for different people. Most women do not experience chest pain when having a heart attack. Diabetics may suffer from silent heart attacks, that is, they may show no symptoms at all. Therefore, you have to be vigilant if you have a weak heart or you know someone who may be risk of a heart attack.

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If you or someone you know exhibit any of these symptoms, you must immediately ensure that emergency treatment is given by a trained professional at the earliest. Time is of essence here because if you delay the treatment, there will be increased risk of further damage to heart muscles. It may also mean permanent damage to your heart.

Know what to do in the event of a heart attack on this World Heart Day.

Call an ambulance

Don't wait to see if the person recovers on his own. And, don't try to take the person to a hospital on your own. Just call an ambulance immediately because these are equipped for emergency care. A health professional also usually comes along with an ambulance. This way, treatment can start even before you reach the hospital. If you delay for any reason, the risk of death goes up.

Take action while waiting for ambulance

Don't wait for the symptoms to go away. This delay may cost a life.

Get the person to relax and keep him or her calm.

You may ask them to lie down or sit.

Ask him to chew on an aspirin while waiting for the ambulance to come.

If the patient is wearing tight clothes, loosen them so that he is more comfortable.

Be with the patient throughout and don't leave his side even for a minute.

Don't give the patient anything to eat or drink.

Adults should take steps to control heart disease risk factors whenever possible.

Do not apply any pressure on the chest unless the patient has stopped breathing.

If the is no breathing, apply CPR if you are trained to do so. Or get a trained professional immediately.

Contrary to popular belief, do not ask the person to cough repeatedly. This may have adverse reactions.

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