How to recognize signs of a heart attack?

Spending hours at a table eating heartily, all washed down with alcohol and in a climate that is sometimes stressful due to the many preparations and tense discussions: whether this scene makes you happy or sad, know that it identifies several factors that are at risk of having a heart attack. A study published by the American Heart Association on December 12 indicates that the number of heart attack victims is highest during the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Myocardial infarction occurs when a blood clot blocks the coronary artery and thus deprives the heart of oxygen. This obstruction leads to the destruction of part of the heart muscle. In France, every year 80,000 people suffer from heart attacks and 12,000 die, according to Inserm. That’s about 30 people a day. To prevent deaths, every minute counts. So we help you recognize the signs of a heart attack.

Chest pain, nausea, shortness of breath

Chest pain, whether at rest or during exertion, is the primary symptom of myocardial infarction. This vise-like tightness is intense and can extend to the arms and back. “You need to worry when chest pain occurs suddenly, but also when it has preceded shorter chest pains,” explains Jean-Jacques Monsuez, cardiologist.

When the pain is brutal, it can be accompanied by vomiting, nausea, abdominal pain, shortness of breath or even palpitations. “In some people, there are sudden rhythmic breakdowns with extremely intense chest pain, malaise, loss of consciousness, and this can go as far as sudden death.” Pain should therefore not be neglected, especially with regard to women, insists the cardiologist.

Women and young people are also concerned

Because there is a difference between the two sexes. According to Jean-Jacques Monsuez, we care less about women because we often believe that they are less affected. “If a man experiences sudden chest pains at night, his wife will immediately think he is having a heart attack. Although the reverse is not always the case, despite all the awareness campaigns that have been made,” laments the cardiologist. But women in menopause are almost as likely to have a heart attack as their male counterparts. Of the 40,597 people who died of a heart attack in 2005, 40% were women. A significant number at that.

Also, be careful not to minimize chest pain in someone who has never felt it before and who is not thought to be in danger. “Young people can also be victims of a heart attack, especially when they smoke or there are cases in their family, the doctor recalls. Family background, like age, is a risk factor. »

Tobacco, physical inactivity, hypertension and diabetes involved

Tobacco, but also high blood pressure, diabetes, physical inactivity, overweight, too rich food or cholesterol are risk factors. People who combine these characteristics must therefore be especially careful.

One in six people who have had a heart attack will die. People who often did not have time to get to the hospital. “Unfortunately, some experience extremely intense chest pains and arrhythmias, which can lead to sudden death, before they even reach the hospital. This is the whole current problem of mortality associated with sudden cardiovascular accidents. »

So if you notice these symptoms in a loved one or in yourself, call 15 immediately. Samu will ask you a few questions, and in the event of a suspected heart attack, an electrocardiogram will be performed at the hospital. The earlier this call, the lower the risk of death. Because “with the effectiveness of the current care, people who arrive at the hospital survive”, recalls the cardiologist.

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