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It is incredibly important to recognize the signs of a heart attack. However, the signs aren’t always the same as it varies from person to person. Sometimes, a person can actually have a heart attack and not realize it!

This means that they are unable to get the medical care they need. Though, that could lead to lasting heart damage. Myocardial infarction, also known as MI, is the medical name for a heart attack. 

A heart attack usually occurs as a direct result of a coronary artery being blocked. This causes the bloody supply to the heart muscle to reduce or stop. This article takes a look at the signs of a heart attack and what you can expect during your recovery.

What Are the Signs of a Heart Attack?

Most people know that chest pain is a very common symptom of a heart attack. Though, a heart attack can affect your whole body, not just your heart. Individuals of different sexes and ages may experience symptoms differently.

However, the most common and defining symptoms are:

  • Chest pain- Heart attacks often involved a high level of pain and discomfort on the left side or chest middle. It can feel sharp or like squeezing, fullness, or pressure that is uncomfortable. 
  • Difficulty breathing- Usually difficulty breathing is accompanied by chest pain. Shortness of breath has been known to begin before chest discomfort. 
  • Upper body pain- A person may feel discomfort or pain in their arms both arms that can spread to the shoulders. There may also be pain in the jaw, back, or neck.
  • Feeling lightheaded- Someone may feel faint, weak, or break out into a cold sweat while having a heart attack.

Diagnosis and Tests

Anyone who thinks that they may be having a heart attack must seek immediate medical attention. A doctor will diagnose a heart attack based on age, symptoms, general health, and family history. They may often carry out tests such as:

  • Coronary angiography
  • Electrocardiography (ECG)
  • Imaging tests such as echocardiograms and chest x-rays
  • Blood tests


If the tests show that someone has, in fact, had a heart attack, doctors may recommend the following procedures:

  • Artificial heart valve surgery
  • Coronary angioplasty
  • Implantable devices
  • Stent procedure
  • Bypass surgery

A doctor may consider treating a heart attack with medications in order to thin the blood, relax the blood vessels, break up the clots, and help with pain relief. However, to get to the doctor, you need to know how to recognize the signs of a heart attack. Identifying signs and symptoms is also an important component of palliative care, which is why having a good program can be significant to the care of a loved one. 

For additional questions about identifying signs of a heart attack, contact Lucky Palliative Services. For emergency cases, please call 911 immediately.

Additional Reading Resources on Hospice and Palliative Care:

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