Things to do immediately during Heart Attack: Cause, early symptoms and more

Heart attacks have become quite a common phenomenon in recent times. Often, we come across viral videos or information where people from different walks of the society suffer deadly heart attacks and with less time and information, families end up witnessing unfortunate conclusions.

The sudden demise of apparently healthy individuals has sparked concern within the society regarding growing incidence of cardiac problems.

As heart attacks continued to scare the human race, The Quotes talked to Dr. Avinash Mani, Associate Consultant, Department of Cardiology, Fortis Escorts Heart Institute to understand what could be the possible ways first aide family members can opt in an emergency situation.

Cause of heart attacks:

Dr. Mani tells us that the high prevalence of diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia is responsible for increased incidence of cardiovascular disease.

​Coronary artery disease develops due to presence of cholesterol blockages within the blood vessels, which supply blood to the heart muscles.

In the most extreme situation, these blockages can suddenly develop blood clots which completely occludes the blood vessel, thus cutting off blood supply to the heart muscles. This event is termed as acute myocardial infarction or heart attack.

What happens to our body during heart attack

During a heart attack, the heart muscle is deprived of blood flow and muscle damage ensues every minute. If there is failure to restore blood supply during the hour, permanent damage begins within the heart muscle which is irreversible.

Early symptoms:

​​Early recognition of heart attack symptoms is the first step. The main symptoms include chest heaviness or pain associated with difficulty in breathing and profuse sweating. There can also be atypical symptoms like nausea, severe vomiting and giddiness.

Whenever anyone has sudden onset of such symptoms, it should be suspected that he might be having a heart attack.

First-aides in case of emergency

The patient should be made comfortable, made to lie down flat preferably. Try to reach the nearest hospital as quickly as possible.

​Secondly, assess the person’s consciousness level and pulse. Pulse can be easily checked by pressing against one’s wrist or side of neck. If the person is not responding to commands and you are not getting a pulse, he is probably having a cardiac arrest.

Cardiac arrest is a condition where a massive heart attack can cause electrical disturbances in the heart and reduce pumping of blood into the body. If a person having chest pain suddenly collapses and becomes unconscious, it is likely a cardiac arrest.

At this time, it is imperative to start chest compressions on the patient as a life saving measure. Community training in basic life support (BLS) should be encouraged so that life-saving first aid can be given before medical aid arrives.​

Medical attention is must:

One should immediately try to get medical attention if he has any cardiac symptoms. If someone in the family is taking blood thinning medications (antiplatelet drugs) and these are available, they can be given to the patient in an emergency scenario if you are far away from a hospital.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a simple and effective tool which can reliably tell us whether a person is having a heart attack or not. Try to get an ECG as early as possible so that treatment can be started.

Treatment under doctor’s watch should be priority:

One must remember that the earlier a heart attack patient receives treatment, the better are his chances of having a good outcome in future. No time should be wasted for seeking medical attention in case of a suspected heart attack. Time is muscle – your life depends on it.

Ginger/Garlic/Herbs of no use:

A lot of fake information and videos are circulated on social media regarding use of ginger/garlic, herbs and other stuff which can cure a heart attack. These claims are completely baseless and there is no scientific evidence to support these statements.

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