Taking a Close Look At Heart Attacks

by Ladyblogger on February 9, 2013

Approximately 1.2 million Americans will suffer from a heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction, on an annual basis. Even though this often deadly medical issue is very common, there are still a lot of people who would be unable to accurately recognize the symptoms of a heart attack. It is especially important to note that up to 64 percent of the heart attacks that happen each year are not accompanied by chest pain or other notable symptoms.

How do I know if I am having a Heart Attack?

If you are having a heart attack, you will typically experience an increase the symptoms over several minutes as opposed to instantly. Chest pain is the most common and easy to interpret symptom, but again, it is possible to have a heart attack without feeling any pain or tightness within your chest. Other common feelings of pain associated with a heart attack can occur in the left arm, back, right arm, neck, jaw and upper abdomen. Some of the additional symptoms can help doctors determine the exact severity and cause of a heart attack, including shortness of breath, light-headedness, weakness, excessive sweating, palpitations and vomiting.

Differences between the Symptoms Exhibited by Women and Men

In most cases, men will experience the most common symptoms, including pain in their chest. Women, on the other hand, are more likely to experience a wide range of vague symptoms that can make it more difficult to quickly identify that a heart attack is occurring. Most women will have weakness, fatigue and shortness of breath, but they may not feel any pain. Both genders often have issues that begin occurring up to a month before they actually have a heart attack, but this can also be misleading for women. For example, men will frequently have issues with chest pain leading up to a heart attack, but when a woman experiences chest pain, it is not nearly as indicative of an upcoming serious issue. Both genders will often deal with sleep disturbances before they have a heart attack.

What Causes a Heart Attack?

There are several risk factors that have been associated with heart attacks. One of the major causes is an unusual increase in exertion, either due to a physical activity or psychological stress. Medical studies also indicate that heart attacks are more likely to occur in the morning. In fact, the percentage of heart attacks that occurs around 9 a.m. is very disproportionate to any other time of the day. Some of the other risk factors include age, smoking, obesity, diabetes, alcohol, high blood pressure, a lack of regular physical activity, socioeconomic and psychosocial factors, oral contraceptive pills and exposure to carbon monoxide. Men are also likely to have a heart attack during any stage of their life, but women usually experience them after menopause.

Because the symptoms of a heart attack can so closely mirror the symptoms of a panic attack, it is possible to receive a misdiagnosis. If this happens, you could suffer from further complications or be prescribed unnecessary medication. If you receive a misdiagnosis that causes you to suffer additional harm, you may be able to sue your doctor. Therefore, you should contact a heart attack misdiagnosis attorney in New York, or your local state as soon as possible to discuss your legal options before the applicable statute of limitations expires.

Anthony Joseph is a freelance author who enjoys writing about interesting health issues, and contributes this article for the purpose of helping to educate others on health safety. As a heart attack misdiagnosis attorney in New York, the Perecman Firm helps patients and families hold negligent doctors and hospitals accountable for delayed diagnosis. Lead attorney David Perecman has over 30 years of medical malpractice experience.

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