A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the heart muscle is reduced or stopped due to a blocked artery, most often with build-up of fat-like substances called “plaque.”

According to the CDC:

  • 600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths.
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. More than half of the deaths due to heart disease in 2009 were in men.
  • Coronary heart disease is the most common type of heart disease, killing more than 385,000 people annually.
  • Every year about 715,000 Americans have a heart attack. Of these, 525,000 are a first heart attack and 190,000 happen in people who have already had a heart attack.

The most important thing to do if heart attack warning signs occur is to call 911 immediately. Don’t do anything before calling 911. While some heart attacks are sudden and intense, others can start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Often people aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait too long before getting help.

“600,000 people die of heart disease in the United States every year–that’s 1 in every 4 deaths”

Here are some heart attack warning signs that require immediate attention:

  • Chest discomfort- Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body- This includes pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath- This may occur with or without chest discomfort.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat- Coupled with an upset stomach, nausea or light-headedness.

*This information is intended for general knowledge and is not a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment.

For more information contact Baylor Scott & White–Round Rock at 512.509.0200 or visit roundrock.sw.org