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GHS & 911

If you think you may be having a heart attack, call 911: Do not drive yourself to the emergency room!

Heart disease is the number one killer of men and women in the United State.  Each year, over one million people will experience a heart attack.  Four hundred thousand will die, or about one in every five deaths.  Fortunately, if you seek early medical help, the prognosis for recovery is good. Over 90 percent of those visiting the emergency room for a heart attack can be treated successfully.  Learning how to identify the early warning signs can save your life.

 ♫ Listen to Our Monday Medical Minute with Dr. Craig Hudak

What is a Heart Attack?

A heart attack occurs, in most cases, when a vessel supplying the heart muscle with blood and oxygen becomes completely blocked. The vessel has become narrowed by a slow buildup of fatty deposits, made up mostly of cholesterol. When a clot occurs in this narrowed vessel, it completely blocks the supply of blood to the heart muscle. That part of the muscle will begin to die if the individual does not immediately seek medical attention.

Heart Attack Warning Signs

  • Chest discomfort.  Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. The discomfort can feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach
  • Shortness of breath. Occurring with or before chest discomfort.
  • Trouble Breathing:  Difficulty in breathing includes shortness of breath.
  • Sweating.  If you begin to sweat profusely with no temperature changes, this can be a sign a heart attack is imminent.
  • Heartburn or Indigestion.  According to the American Heart Association, many patients delay seeking treatment for heart attack because they believe they are experience indigestion.  If you have pain that radiates up the esophagus, seek emergency medical treatment.
  • Nausea.  Intense and sudden waves of nausea can accompany a heart attack.
  • Dizziness.  Dizziness or double vision is another heart attack symptom that often occurs prior to pain.
  • Feelings of Weakness or Anxiety.  Difficulty concentrating or feelings of weakness, particularly those that occur suddenly, are also signs of a heart attack.
  • Fluttering Heartbeat.  If your heart rate feels unsteady and fluttering of the feeling that your pulse is racing can signal a heart attack.

Warning Signs of a Heart Attack in Women

Females, and sometimes the elderly, do not show the classic heart attack signs. Women often complain of vague pain in the lower back along with indigestion. Any pain or discomfort in the torso combine with nausea should be taken seriously.

Heart attack symptoms in women can be different and include the following:

  • Pressure, fullness, squeezing pain in the center of the chest, spreading to the neck, shoulder or jaw pain
  • Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea, or shortness of breath
  • Upper abdominal pressure or discomfort
  • Lower chest discomfort
  • Back pain
  • Unusual fatigue
  • Unusual shortness of breath
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea

So don’t delay! Don’t take chances with chest pain. If you have chest pain or other heart attack symptoms, call 9-1-1 and seek medical attention at Greenville Memorial Hospital Chest Pain Center immediately.

Interesting Facts to a Healthier Heart!

A heart attack occurs about every 20 seconds in the US?

Smoking is the number one cause of preventable death? If you need help in quitting, call (864) 455-1540.

Did you know that fitness activities not only burn calories but also reduces your risk of having a heart attack?

Did you know that the average human heart beats 100,000 times a day? High blood pressure means your heart has to work harder, which can increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.  Learn Your Heart's Age.


Greenville Memorial Hospital Chest Pain Center Top in the Nation

The Chest Pain Center at Greenville Memorial Hospital’s Emergency Trauma Center (ETC) was recognized as being among the top 2 percent in the nation for outstanding performance during a recent reaccreditation survey by the Society of Chest Pain Centers (SCPC). Click here for more information.

For more information on Greenville Health System Cardiac Services, please call 1-877-GHS-INFO (447-4636).  For information on cardiologists, click here.