A heart attack occurs when blood flow to a part of your heart is blocked for a long enough time that part of the heart muscles are damaged or die. There are tests that your doctor can do in order to help determine if you will have a heart attack and determine if you have proper blood flow to your heart. However, it is important to know what the heart attack symptoms are because a heart attack is an emergency that can have mild symptoms that need to be treated right away.
Heart Attack Symptoms
Heart attack symptoms can start off slow and progress and be mild and get worse. Some heart attack symptoms to be on the look out for is pain or pressure in your chest, discomfort that spreads to your back, jaw, throat, or arm. Other symptoms are nausea, indigestion, heartburn, weakness, anxiety, or shortness of breath, along with rapid or irregular heartbeats.
Heart Attack Symptoms in Women
Believe it or not, women do not always feel chest pain with a heart attack. However, women are more likely than men to experience heartburn, loss of appetite, tiredness or weakness, coughing, and heart flutters. These heart attack symptoms are not something that should be ignored; if you experience any of these symptoms it is important that you get treatment right away, because the longer you wait to get treatment the more damage that can occur to the heart.
Common Cause of a Heart Attack
The most common cause of a heart attack is coronary artery disease. Coronary artery disease happens when plaque builds up in the coronary arteries, which narrows the arteries, then causing the blood flow to be limited and difficult. There are many people that do not even know they have coronary artery disease until it is too late and they have a heart attack. However, if you experience reoccurring chest pain, known as angina, it is important that you see a doctor.
Testing for a Heart Attack
There are a couple different tests that your doctor can do in order to diagnose a heart attack. One of the tests is an EKG, which is a painless test that uses electrodes to monitor your heart’s rhythm and heart’s activity. This test will help the doctor diagnose a heart attack and determine if you may have an enlarged heart. Another test that can be done is a stress test. This test will measure how your heart responds to exertion. Since your heart will be put under exertion, this test will be an exercise stress test, which means that you will either walk on a treadmill or bike on a stationary bike, while levels of difficulty are changed throughout the tests. An EKG will be used during the tests to monitor your heart rate and your blood pressure will be monitored as your heart continues to work harder. This exercise stress test is used to determine if there is an adequate amount of blood being supplied to the heart.