How Do I Know If I Had Had a Heart Attack?

Most people who suffer a heart attack experience a severe chest pain which is usually in the middle of the chest, in the front, spreading sideways towards the shoulders, and sometimes into the arms. It often has a crushing or tight quality. It may last for quite a long time-several hours, sometimes-requiring pain killing drugs to tie it when it is very severe.

Quite a few of the chest pains we experience are due to heart attacks. Chest pain is very common and usually arises in the chest wall rather than anything deep within the chest. One of the difficulties is distinguishing it from indigestion, which may be very similar but, of course, usually occurs after eating. However, any pain of the above type may be serious and does require a medical opinion as soon as possible.

Most of the risks associated with heart attacks occur within the first hour or two after the sunset. It is there before sensible to seek medical advice early. There has been some controversies as to whether patients are best nursed in hospital or at home. Most doctors would agree, however, that if patients can be identified and diagnosed quickly, it is best that they are nursed in a Coronary Care Unit. If the diagnosis is not made for twenty-four or forty-eight hours, the major risk has passed and it is probably safe for them to be nursed at home.

I had a Bad Chest Pain but it did not Last so Long. Was it a Heart Attack?

If it was a similar tight central pain but of short duration it might have been due to a temporary reduction in blood supply thought one of the coronary arteries rather than complete and permanent blockage. The heart muscle is then damaged permanently and no "heart attack" occurs. The temporary inadequacy of blood flow produces a very similar pain, although it is likely to be less severe and will not last very long-perhaps minutes rather than hours. This type of pain is commonly called "angina".

This pain may be bought on by anything that makes the heart beat faster and stronger; this stress may be physical or emotional, both causing a liberation of adrenaline into the blood stream which leads to a faster and stronger heart beat. This extra work requires more fuel-more oxygen and hence more blood – and this, of course, does not happen when the blood supply is restricted. Many of the treatments for this condition are designed to limit this increase in heart rate and strength of contraction.