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How to Survive a Heart Attack While You are Alone


Friday, February 28th, 2014

Very few things are scarier than the thought of having a heart attack, let alone having a heart attack while all alone.  Once heart attack symptoms start, problems can progress rapidly and you need to react quickly and being prepared can be the difference between life and death.

Here are some tips that can help increase your chances of survival in the event that you have a heart attack while alone.

Know the Symptoms

Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack is crucial. Early treatment within the first few hours of a heart attack can reduce the damage done to the heart and even safe your life.

Chest pain is the main symptom of a heart attack. This sign is more common in men than in women. Women have a higher likelihood than men to have a heart attack without typical chest pain. Other symptoms include:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • A fast heartbeat
  • Extreme weakness

Actions You Can Take

  • Call 911 immediately – request an ambulance for the quickest and safest transportation to the hospital.
  • If you are driving, pull over – you can lose consciousness very quickly. Even if a hospital is nearby, do not drive yourself.
  • Take an aspirin – Chewing slowly on an aspirin can help slow down the heart attack and buy more time for responders.
  • Relax your body as much as possible – the more physical activity you perform, the faster the heart attack will progress.
  • Try to cool your body temperature –If possible, put a cool cloth under your armpits or on your wrists to help speed up the process.

While none of these suggestions are guaranteed to stop a heart attack, they can help buy some time to get to a hospital. Take signs and symptoms of heart attacks very seriously and get help as soon as possible.

If you think you may have heart disease, or be at risk for a heart attack, consult your primary care physician or visit UPMC’s Heart and Vascular Institute.

Heart

Heart and Vascular Institute

As a recognized leader in cardiovascular care — with a rich history in clinical research and innovation — the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute offers a full spectrum of personalized cardiovascular services. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the United States, UPMC has made significant contributions to the advancement of cardiovascular medicine. Read More