Heart attack symptoms: how the first signs of the disease appear

Heart attack symptoms: how the first signs of the disease appear

The modern rhythm of life contributes to various disruptions in our body. Therefore, you need to be prepared for any situation. It is extremely important to know the symptoms and signs of a heart attack – one of the most formidable diseases. Often it is recognized in advance, and such knowledge can help save yourself and your loved ones from unforeseen disaster.

What it is

This disease occurs when some part of the organ dies (necrosis) . Cell death in this case is associated with a lack or lack of blood flow due to blockage, narrowing (especially in atherosclerosis) or spasm of the coronary vessels that deliver the necessary nutrients and oxygen to the tissues. After the blood supply becomes insufficient, necrosis begins after 15-30 minutes.


This condition threatens the life of any person. A heart attack can be in the brain and be accompanied by softening of areas of brain tissue, spleen, kidneys, intestines. For the latter, necrosis, as a rule, are not life-threatening, but significantly impair its quality.

Most often, and with more serious consequences, it occurs in the heart muscle. Almost forty percent of deaths are noted in the first twenty minutes from its onset, as severe complications develop. In 3-6 hours after a critical disturbance of blood flow, the area of the heart muscle, with which the vessels were connected, completely dies off.

Doctors distinguish several stages of development. They are determined by the time from the onset of necrosis to its completion:

the most acute – lasts less than two hours;
acute – up to ten days;
subacute – 10-45 days;
scarring – from one and a half to six months.
The latter means that our body has coped with the trouble, but its functioning will never return to its previous level – the changes are irreversible.

How does a heart attack manifest?

This disease is very insidious and does not always manifest itself in the classical form. For various organs, it is usually accompanied by severe pain, inflammation and impaired motor functions.

How does a heart attack manifest

If we talk about ischemic heart disease (ischemic heart disease), as a rule, a person pays attention to periodic pain in the chest area, which is especially evident after physical exertion (exercise, long walking, climbing stairs, etc.). Usually, potential patients extinguish this condition with vasodilating drugs. However, when this does not help, and the painful sensations become more severe, there is a possibility that active cell necrosis has begun. Sometimes the pains become so hard to bear that it affects the psychological well-being: a person may have thoughts of imminent death. This causes slurred speech and confused, unconscious behavior.

But as noted earlier, the manifestation does not always meet this standard and may be endowed with atypical symptoms. For example, instead of painful sensations, there is simply discomfort, and sometimes not even in the chest, but in the esophagus region. Possible causeless shortness of breath, sweating. Such moments are especially difficult to diagnose.

Causes of myocardial infarction

In most situations, this is a consequence of a disease such as atherosclerosis. In more than ninety percent of cases, it is this that serves as the background of the course.

The root causes also include:

embolism – blockage of blood vessels with gas bubbles or other particles (blood clots);
fatty clots;
valvular disease – with it, important arteries depart from the aorta;
changes in pressure, as in the case of arterial hypertension.
Because of all of the above, the vascular lumen narrows, interfering with the normal functioning of the circulatory system. And if the heart muscle does not receive enough oxygen for 20 minutes, the tissues of its individual sections die. Such phenomena lead to suffocation, brain damage. In extremely difficult situations, cardiac arrest occurs.

However, one should not think that the manifestation of a heart attack is associated only with other diseases. Lifestyle also strongly affects our cardiovascular system. Regular stress, unhealthy diet, and insufficient physical activity, or vice versa – excessive, lead to its failures. Especially among the harmful factors are such bad habits as smoking and frequent alcohol consumption.

Types and features

First of all, they depend on the affected organ and can be divided into many subtypes in accordance with the site of the lesion. Generally (without reference to a specific part of the body), doctors distinguish:

White (ischemic) – It is associated with blockage of an artery (usually a blood clot or embolus).
With a hemorrhagic rim – its cause is spasms followed by paralytic vasodilation.
Red – appears due to blockage of the arterial mesh and veins.
Aseptic necrosis – usually small in size, scarring.

If we talk about the heart, then the types are distinguished here depending on its department:

the left ventricle is most often diagnosed, the death of its anterior wall is especially dangerous;
right – proceeds the easiest and most favorable in terms of predictions for recovery;
transmural – the entire thickness of the middle muscle layer is affected, and necrosis often spreads to other cardiac regions;
subepicardial – with it there is often a risk of death, since rupture of the damaged vessel and hemorrhage into the pericardial cavity can occur.

The main symptoms of an onset myocardial infarction

Frequent pains in the chest area are mostly reported by men and women over 40 years old. In addition, the pathological process is characterized by high blood pressure. Medical specialists distinguish the following symptoms:

constant shortness of breath, even with small physical exertion;
unpleasant feeling of pressure behind the breastbone;
attacks of angina pectoris;
cold sweats or increased sweating;
swelling of the limbs, especially the legs;
memory impairment, absent-mindedness;
loss of orientation in space;
severe muscle weakness.
For any such manifestations, you should immediately consult a doctor.

symptoms of a heart attack

What are the symptoms of a heart attack in women

This topic is now especially acute, because they began to study it not so long ago. It turned out that almost all studies of this disease took place precisely on male examples (since they are most often at risk of this disease). And female symptoms are somewhat different.

As a rule, women after 45 years of age are exposed to it, especially under conditions of reduced stress resistance and hard work. For them, a wake-up call is:

shortness of breath during sleep and even snoring;
causeless nausea and vomiting;
severe bleeding of the gums;
frequent urge to urinate at night;
numbness of body parts;
swelling of the face, hands and feet, which indicates an impaired water balance;
pain radiating to the left shoulder joint;
painful sensations in the stomach area;
frequent migraines;
disturbed heart rhythm.

The nature of pain at the first symptoms of myocardial infarction

Often it is sharp, acute to such an extent that breathing is disturbed, limbs are paralyzed and it is impossible to think logically. Pain syndromes can provoke not only dizziness, but even loss of consciousness (this is especially typical for women). And if you do not be near the person in time and do not provide assistance, necrosis in the tissues can cost the patient his life.


The main problem is that the pain will not go away even if the person takes painkillers. At first, there are periodic lumbago, which can be given to the left shoulder. If it seemed that they disappeared without therapeutic measures, and after a short period of time returned again, it is necessary to call an ambulance. The stage of relapse is characterized by pain that does not release the patient.

The first signs of myocardial infarction

The progressing process is individual in terms of time for each and makes itself felt in a few days – a month. The pre-infarction state is determined by such signs as:

breathing disorder: intermittent inhalation and exhalation at night, snoring, shortness of breath;
chest pain or left shoulder pain;
numbness of the limbs, even for a short time;
increased sensitivity and bleeding of the gums;
swelling of the legs;
severe headaches;
regular bouts of arrhythmia.
The patient’s mental state also changes – he feels discomfort, uncomfortableness, a sharp fear of death. He does not always control speech and movement. First of all, those who are nearby need to help him to take a horizontal position and call an ambulance.

Nerve signs in a state with a heart attack

This process involves the organs of the central nervous system, which complement the picture with typical symptoms:

decreased visual acuity;
tremors and numbness of the hands;
persistent migraine;
panic attacks;
limb sensitivity disorder – paresthesia (burning, tingling, goosebumps);
cold sweat;
and, as stated earlier, death obsessions.

What to do when symptoms appear

First of all, call emergency services as soon as possible. You can not let the state go by itself. The sooner the professionals begin treatment, the lower the risk of serious consequences and death.

First aid: algorithm of actions
As soon as the first signs and symptoms of myocardial infarction (and any other) were noticed, the patient needs to limit motor activity and immediately take a recumbent or reclining position. In no case should you be physically loaded – this creates an even greater load on the heart, and there is also a risk of losing consciousness and falling, causing even more damage.
It is important to provide oxygen, so tight clothing should be unbuttoned and windows open.
The victim needs to take a nitroglycerin tablet under the tongue until it is completely absorbed (no more than three times).
It is also recommended to let the patient swallow the chewed aspirin.
The person next to the victim should not leave him alone. The latter desperately needs help and support.
It is worth noting that after a heart attack begins, the first hour is called “golden”. And it is extremely important that a team of specialists arrive during it.


The main diagnostic technique is ECG (electrocardiography). In most cases, the cardiogram demonstrates all pathological phenomena in the heart muscle. Sometimes they also resort to ultrasound examination (ultrasound), angiography of blood vessels and scintigraphy. For an accurate diagnosis, a blood test is required.

Treatment will be carried out only in a special institution, after which rehabilitation is required to prevent recurrence of the disease and stabilize the person’s condition.

Symptoms of complications after a heart attack

Their severity depends on the age, the area of the affected tissues and the timely professional medical care provided. Among them are:

arrhythmias (heart rhythm disturbances);
brain damage;
pulmonary edema;
possible mental deviations;
stomach ulcers;
cardiogenic shock (a sharp decrease in myocardial contractility).
The mortality statistics from this disease are disappointing – every tenth person dies. But you need to understand that many patients who did not have an attack did not receive full-fledged medical care. If you know what symptoms occur before and with a heart attack, you can avoid the sad consequences. According to statistics, about 80% of patients after rehabilitation lead a normal life.


To avoid any diseases of the cardiovascular system, first of all, you should pay attention to nutrition. The diet should contain a lot of vitamins and fiber and a minimum (or better completely exclude) fatty and fried foods, because it contributes to the appearance of cholesterol plaques. Omega-3 fats, which are found in fish fillets, have a good effect on the state of the body.

It is essential to monitor the state of your body. If you are overweight, you must definitely lose weight (but be sure to consult with your doctor). With a sedentary lifestyle, you need to fight physical inactivity and exercise. Experts also recommend purchasing devices with which you can regularly monitor blood pressure, sugar and cholesterol levels.

Rehabilitation: an important milestone on the road to recovery

In fact, in addition to drug treatment, it includes more stringent measures to prevent the main signs of myocardial infarction:

Special motor mode. Its limitations are individually associated with the stages of necrosis. For the elderly, it is selected with special attention. Do not think that it is possible to quickly return to physical form. If, after a few weeks, overcoming one flight of stairs passes without shortness of breath, weakness and heart palpitations, this is a good result.
Dancing, swimming and cycling will have a beneficial effect on the body.
Diet. Food is selected that does not burden the body: low-fat dairy products, vegetables, fruits, fish, poultry. Salt intake is limited.
Lifestyle changes. There is no discussion about the fact that you will have to give up any bad habits, as they can negate all treatment. With obesity, as mentioned earlier, it is necessary to lose weight to the norm established by the attending physician.

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