A heart attack takes place when there is a blockage to the steady flow of blood to the heart. This condition results from the accumulation of various substances in the inner walls of coronary arteries. These include fat, plaque, and cholesterol. This blockage eventually disintegrates within a short time to form a blood clot. The interruption of blood flow to the heart ultimately damages this vital organ. Patients suffering a sudden heart attack need immediate medical attention before it turns fatal. 

Margaret Salmon, MD – What are symptoms of a heart attack?

Dr. Margaret L. Salmon is an esteemed emergency medical doctor from San Francisco, California, in America. She completed her graduation from the University of Washington School of Medicine. Her area of expertise is in the diagnosis and treatment of patients with serious medical conditions. These include those who are suffering from a sudden cardiac attest, drug overdose, and shock. She even attends to patients who come into emergency wards with massive internal bleeding. She has almost two decades of valuable experience under her belt in this field. Currently, she works with Oak Valley Hospital District and is highly reputed as a good doctor.

Margaret Salmon MD says a heart attack is a serious medical condition that can turn out to be fatal if not attended to immediately. Patients suffering from a sudden heart attack need attention and hospitalization. One or more of the following six symptoms are signs of a sudden heart attack-

  • Severe pain in the center of their chest which quickly spreads to their upper limbs;
  • Difficulties in breathing normally and fatigue;
  • Lightheadedness and dizziness;
  • Cold sweating; 
  • Nausea; and
  • Indigestion and heartburn

How to respond to patients suffering from sudden heart attacks?

When people find a relative or friend or colleague experiencing a heart attack, they need to immediately recognize the symptoms. Next, they should take the following four steps without delay:

  • Call the emergency services or their local doctor

They should phone their local doctor and inform him of their relative’s current condition. If this is not possible for any reason, they should immediately call the emergency services. In the worst-case scenarios, they should drive their relative to the nearest hospital.

  • Administer nitroglycerin or aspirin to the patient

People should ensure their relative chews nitroglycerin or aspirin while waiting for an ambulance. They should do so only after getting proper instructions from their local doctor. These medicines help to widen the inner walls of coronary arteries to ensure more blood flows to the patient’s heart. 

  • Perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)

People may find that the person is slowing losing consciousness after checking his radial pulse. In this situation, they should immediately perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) procedures. In doing so, they should rhythmically push hard and fast on their relative’s chest. Their objective is to complete 120 compressions in a minute. Then they should resort to mouth-to-mouth resuscitation.

In the opinion of Margaret L Salmon MD, patients can survive a sudden heart attack by timely action by their relatives or people around them at the time. They should quickly recognize its symptoms before calling a doctor. These include difficulties in breathing, chest pain, lightheadedness, cold sweat, and indigestion. On seeing these signs, they should phone emergency services, administer nitroglycerin on the instructions of their local doctor, and perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation to save a life.

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