CoFund Health Blog > Heart Attack Warnings, Therapy, and Assistance
Heart Attack Warnings, Therapy, and Assistance
You are feeling a sensation in your chest…the pain is spreading to the arm. Your heartbeat is irregular, and you are all sweating! Don’t wait; call 9-1-1 or rush to the hospital as these are probably the signs of a heart attack. Do you know that nearly a million Americans suffer heart attacks every year?
A report from the American Heart Association revealed that nearly 5.7 million adults in the US experience heart failure annually. Chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack. However, some heart attacks may strike silently. In most cases, heart attack symptoms are visible with clear warning signs.
Heart diseases claim the lives of women more than any other disease in the US. Some of the heart attack symptoms in women are different than those in men.
It is essential to know that the symptoms and severity of a heart attack can differ from person to person. While one person may experience severe pain, another may only feel a mild squeezing sensation. Sometimes, it is only a whooshing sound in the heart, i.e., heart murmur.
About Heart Attack
Before closely examining the symptoms of a heart attack, let's briefly discuss what a heart attack is.
The heart is the muscular organ responsible for pumping blood to all parts of the body. Blood transports oxygen and other nutrients to the heart. Damage to the heart muscle affects the blood supply. A heart attack is also called a Myocardial infarction. The word “Myo” means muscle, “cardial” denotes relating to heart, and “infarction” means the death of tissue due to the inadequate blood supply.
Signs Indicating a Heart Attack
Chest Pain or Discomfort
The first possible sign of a heart attack is an aching sensation in the chest. You may feel tightness or a heavy burden on the chest. The symptoms may last for a few minutes or may come back after some hours or the next day. The discomfort may radiate from the chest to the other parts of the body –including the left arm, back, jaw, neck, throat, upper abdomen, or shoulder.
According to the American Heart Association, women may experience a heart attack without any signs of chest pressure. Alternatively, they may feel pain in the lower abdomen or lower chest.
Excessive sweating can also signal a heart attack, especially when you sweat without much physical activity. Your heart has to use more energy to pump blood through blocked arteries. Hence, the body excretes more sweat to keep the body temperature balanced.
Night sweats are one of the common women heart attack symptoms. However, women with heart diseases often neglect the bed sheets soaked with sweat, mistaking it as menopause.
Fatigue and Shortness of Breath
Unlike men, women having a heart attack have uncharacteristic symptoms, like fatigue or breathe shortness. However, most women do not take fatigue as a serious indication of a pending heart attack. When the heart struggles to pump blood effectively, you may run out of breath. Hence, shortness of breath accompanied with unusual fatigue is likely to be a sign of a heart attack in women.
Skipping of heartbeats or out-of-beat rhythm may be a sign of a heart attack. The patient may feel an intense sensation as if the heart is pounding in the neck. Your heart palpitations resulted in a heart attack may cause a panic attack. Women are vulnerable to anxiety attack following heart palpitations more than men. It is important to not confuse panic attack symptoms to that of a heart attack or heart failure symptoms.
Indigestion, Vomiting, or Nausea
Mild indigestion and gastrointestinal problems may be an advanced warning of a heart attack. Older people are prone to indigestion and may mistake the heart attack symptoms with that of heartburn. Note that the sensation caused due to heartburn first appears in the upper part of the stomach. It then radiates to the chest.
Every 43 seconds, someone in the US is affected by a heart attack. First, the emergency room personnel physically examine the patient to diagnose the attack. The doctor takes an electrocardiogram (ECG) to measure the electrical activity of the patient’s heart. Following this, the doctor will also draw a blood sample to begin to measure heart damage, if any. Through cardiac catheterization, a doctor probes the arteries to check the blood flow or any blockage.
The doctor may recommend one of the following surgical or non-surgical procedures to treat a person under the heart attack.
Angioplasty: A procedure to open the clogged arteries using a balloon to remove the plaque buildup.
Stents: Following the angioplasty procedure, doctors often insert a stent(s), essentially wire mesh tubes, in the artery to keep it opened.
Heart bypass surgery: Bypass surgeries can be life-threatening so they are not considered haphazardly. However, a successful surgery helps restore the regular supply of blood to the heart muscle.
Heart valve surgery: In case of a leakage in any of the heart valves, doctors perform valve replacement surgery to help your heart do its job.
Pacemaker: A pacemaker device may be implanted beneath your heart skin to normalize your heartbeat rhythm.
Catheter ablation: It is another procedure for treating abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). Doctors use radiofrequency energy to destroy the heart tissue causing heart ablation.
Heart Transplant: In case of a severe heart attack, a heart tissue may get damaged and permanently harm other heart tissues. A heart transplant is the only treatment in such cases.
There are specific medications for a heart attack that help to relieve the pain and prevent from a future attack or congestive heart failure. Some of these include aspirin, nitroglycerine, blood-thinning medicines, blood pressure medicines, and drugs to break down the blood clots.
Cost and help paying your bills
According to the American College of Cardiology, nearly 640,000 Americans died of Cardiovascular diseases (CVD) in 2016. The annual cost of CVDs in the US for the year 2014-2015 was almost $351.2 billion.
When a person suffers a heart attack, the direct and indirect costs are hefty. The direct costs include hospital charges, doctor’s fee, and drug expenses. Lost work time of patients and caregivers, doubles the medical cost of a heart attack.
While there are health insurance programs that can help a patient pay their hospital bills and ongoing therapy expenses, crowdfunding and medical fundraising are gaining popularity. A US research firm reported that there are more than 1,250 crowdfunding platforms across the globe. It is no surprise that many Americans are turning to crowdfunding sites for their medical expense coverage.
Help paying bills from a heart attack are popular category of fundraising campaigns on all personal crowdfunding sites including CoFund Health. To crowdfund your medical bills, you simply have to create your CoFund Health campaign and describe the situation that led you to needing financial assistance from others. Many people may empathize with your situation but you really must explain your story in a way to compel them to want to help. You will also need to share your campaign directly with others and on social media to make sure as many people see your campaign as possible.
Every 40 seconds an American suffers a heart attack. Heart attack prevention is critical to avoiding having to deal with the effects of a heart attack. You can greatly reduce the likelihood of heart attack by following a healthy lifestyle of proper diet and exercise and taking your medications as directed. Also, seek medical help immediately in case of any signs of a heart attack.
Matt Martin is the co-founder of CoFund Health, a crowdfunding site for personal healthcare needs, and CoFund My Pet, a crowdfunding site dedicated to pet’s health. As a veteran & business-owner, he aims to continue a lifetime of service to others. For more information visit cofundhealth.com or cofundmypet.com.
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