Every year, thousands of Americans have a heart attack. The symptoms of a heart attack can vary from person to person, but knowing the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and getting prompt treatment can help limit damage and increase the chance of a full recovery. Symptoms of heart attack can include:
- Discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Prompt medical attention and treatment are of utmost importance for those experiencing a heart attack. If you or someone around you is experiencing symptoms of a heart attack and/or collapses, call 911 immediately. Acting fast at the first sign of heart attack symptoms can save your life and limit damage to your heart. Treatment works best when it's given right after symptoms occur. If you’re experiencing an emergency, do not attempt to drive yourself to the hospital, but call for an ambulance. It can be unsafe to try and operate a vehicle and the emergency services team can assess and treat you along the way.
With a specific system in place among the local first responders and an exceptional emergency response team at Cone Health’s Heart and Vascular Center, survival rates of heart attack patients in the community have been greatly improved due to the prompt, coordinated emergency care. Proper care after a heart attack is important and often involves a combination of medications, lifestyle modifications, and cardiac rehabilitation.
Dr. Christopher McAlhany is an interventional cardiologist at Cone Health Medical Group HeartCare at Church Street. He received his Bachelor of Science in biology and completed medical school at the University of South Carolina in 1997 and 2001, respectively. Dr. McAlhany completed his residency at the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston and a fellowship in cardiology at the Ohio State University Medical Center.