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Medical Early warning signs of heart attack.

  1. Jul 10, 2008 #1

    Astronuc

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    I found this article, which is relavant to men and some women of 50 yrs or older.

    Not a Moment Too Soon, I Thought of Tim Russert


    Tim Russert, a well-known TV journalist died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 58. He was being treated for some heart/coronary disease, but when he died it came on suddenly without warning.

    Edit: I changed the title to "Early warning signs of heart attack", from "Asypmtomatic heart attack" to be more accurate. As is pointed out, some symptoms may be associated with other ailments and people may too often dismiss them. Russert apparently didn't know he was about to have a massive heart attack.
     
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2008
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  3. Jul 10, 2008 #2

    Moonbear

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    A bit misleading to call that "asymptomatic." Nausea, cough, shortness of breath are all heart attack symptoms. I think that's the more important message. Even with all the media coverage attempting to educate the public, too many people think heart attack symptoms must include crushing chest pain radiating into the left arm, and this just isn't always the case. It can be a persistent back ache, nausea, coughing (coughing can also be a symptom of aortic aneurysm where the aneurysm is pressing on the left recurrent laryngeal nerve, which is a branch off the vagus nerve).
     
  4. Jul 10, 2008 #3

    Astronuc

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    If there's a better term, let's change it. Bicks thought it was nausea from the Chinese food the night before.

    Would a cough necessarily be associated with a heart attack.

    Certainly shortness of breath, but if one was exercising, one might not think of a heart attack.

    Feelings of indigestion or heartburn could also be indications.
     
  5. Jul 10, 2008 #4
    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    My Mother had a pain in her jaw for the better part of a day. When she told me about it later that night, I told her to call EMS. She dismissed it, but I called her hospital, and they came and got her right away.
    The pain in her jaw was the only symptom, and it is a very common symptom for woman over 50. Sadly too much damage was done in the hours before help arrived.
     
  6. Jul 11, 2008 #5

    Monique

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    The problem is that the symptoms are also associated with general illnesses that you generally don't seek medical attention for. At what point should you be alarmed when you have symptoms such as a cough or nausea?
     
  7. Jul 11, 2008 #6

    Astronuc

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    I've heard that women have different symptoms from men. Some describe the pain in the jaw or shoulder, or pain or numbness in the arm.

    My maternal grandfather died of a massive heart attack in his bedroom. He was living with my mom's sister at the time. The autopsy revealed indications of earlier heart attacks, and he probably dismissed the symptoms being the stoic he was.
     
  8. Jul 11, 2008 #7

    Astronuc

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    That's a very good point. Certainly like Bicks realized, shortness of breath or fatigue/tiredness in conjunction with the other symptoms. When one is over 50 and overweight, then these symptoms should be taken seriously. However, these days, perhaps men over 40 should be concerned.

    An annual physical exam with one's doctor is recommended.

    Become familiar with the warning signs -
    http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=3053#Heart_Attack


    One precaution would be to take apirin if one feels the symptoms, putting one under the tongue for quicker absorption, but take 600-1000 mg.
     
  9. Jul 11, 2008 #8

    berkeman

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  10. Jul 12, 2008 #9

    Astronuc

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    The adult dose is 650 mg every 4 hrs for pain relief. I've usually take 2 or sometimes 3 depending. For a heart attack, I'd want to get absorption as quickly as possible.

    I heard recently, lower doses of aspirin (baby size) are recommended if one wants to take it daily for cardiac benefits.
     
  11. Jul 14, 2008 #10

    Kurdt

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    What if one has pains in ones chest that shoot down ones arm and you're in you're twenties? Hypothetically of course :uhh:
     
  12. Jul 14, 2008 #11

    Moonbear

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    Re: Asymptomatic heart attack.

    That's a tough one, when it's the only symptom, because most people think toothache, not heart attack, and figure it can wait a day to get to the dentist.

    As Monique mentioned, the problem isn't the lack of symptoms, but realizing that symptoms that are easily considered signs of something else entirely really are serious signs of trouble.

    hypatia, was the onset of the jaw pain really rapid, or something your mom just woke up with in the morning and didn't know when during the night it began? Sometimes that is the best indicator that something needs quick medical attention, even if you don't know it's something as serious as a heart attack, that the onset is very rapid.

    For example, if you're coming down with a cold, the coughing doesn't usually start right away, and starts off gradually with a scratchy throat, some sniffling, postnasal drip, developing into more of a cough. If you just start coughing and feeling nauseous really suddenly, with no lead in of other symptoms, that should merit getting medical attention...even if it turns out it's a rapid onset of food poisoning rather than a heart attack, it's never a bad idea to at least head to the nearest urgent care location to have it checked out right away rather than trying to wait it out.

    Same with toothaches. They really don't usually show up all at once. You start getting that sensitive tooth that you ignore for a while, trying to put off going to a dentist, and then it starts as a little soreness until it becomes an unbearable ache. If you suddenly wake up with a lot of pain in the jaw, and had no prior reason to think you had a bad tooth worsening, head to a doctor (or even a dentist...the dentists have enough training to recognize some of these symptoms for what they are and can call the paramedics too, or find out if it's an abscess or some other problem). Again, even if it's "just" an abscess, that would need rather rapid treatment too, so you still shouldn't put off seeking treatment if you have that sort of pain.
     
  13. Jul 14, 2008 #12

    Moonbear

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    People can have heart attacks that young too. I have a friend whose fiance died of a heart attack at age 30. He had seemed perfectly healthy and fit until the heart attack. Young men tend to dismiss the shoulder and arm pain, especially if it follows a vigorous workout, because they think they just "pulled something." It's always worth getting checked out. Again, what's the worst that happens? You go to the doctor and find out you just pulled something. Much better than not going and it turning out to be a heart attack.
     
  14. Jul 14, 2008 #13

    Kurdt

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    I'm sure I've worn out my nerve or something because I sleep on that arm and I've had it for over a year, but its annoying all the same.
     
  15. Jul 15, 2008 #14
    My Mom woke up in the morning with it, rapid onset in my speculation. She had been telling my dad for over a week that she felt really tired.
    And Kurdt, I whole heartedly agree with moonbear, what harm would it do to just have it checked out?
     
  16. Jul 15, 2008 #15

    Kurdt

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    I've been to the docs I'm fine. Its just weird and initially scary.
     
  17. Jul 15, 2008 #16

    Monique

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    It was in the news recently that doctors are becoming overloaded with work.

    Patients are going to the doctor with minor injuries or illnesses that require your body to heal itself. They attributed the rise in people seeking medical care to the fact that society is individualizing (people don't ask their neighbor or family members for advice) and the fact that there are many hospital-series on t.v. where you are confronted with very sick people that require immediate care.

    They were advocating that you shouldn't seek immediate healthcare, but wait it out. I immediate thought of cases like these, where vague symptoms can be life-threatening, and how the advice would discourage people to seek medical help when they really need it.

    I think Moonbear hits the spot right on, if the symptoms show up with a sudden onset and don't get better soon, you need to be alert. I think your body will let you know when something is not right ("an overwhelming feeling that something was not right"), you shouldn't let your brain dismiss it.
     
  18. Aug 22, 2008 #17
    All last week my husband complained that his arms felt weak. No pain, just weak. Today he complained of shortness of breath. I said maybe we should go to the ER, just to have them check it out...he said no. But I kept on nagging, and then he said, I'm ok, just something does not feel right. Alarms went off in my head, remembering the OP of this thread. I rushed him to the ER.
    At 3 pm he underwent Angioplasty, two arteries were 90% blocked. Stints are in place, and I get to bring him home in 2 days.

    Thank you so much Astro for posting that article, with the key words "feeling that something was not right". I can't even express how grateful I am, it saved my husbands life.
     
  19. Aug 22, 2008 #18

    Math Is Hard

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    Oh my goodness! Glad you got him there in time!
     
  20. Aug 22, 2008 #19
    Honestly, I might not of pushed it if he hadn't said what he did.
     
  21. Aug 23, 2008 #20

    Evo

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    Hypatia, I am so glad that you had the feeling to take him!!!!!!

    I hope he wil have a good recovery, and know that you are in my thoughts!!!
     
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