Heart and Vascular Health How to Survive a Heart Attack While You are Alone By Heart and Vascular Institute, February 28, 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 of a Heart Attack 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 heart attack symptoms include: Shortness of breath Nausea Vomiting Sweating Dizziness A fast heartbeat Extreme weakness RELATED: Stroke v. Heart Attack: Signs and Symptoms Actions You Can Take During a Heart Attack 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.