The chest pain a person feels 24 hours before a heart attack may actually save his/her life. Up to 40 per cent of heart attack patients experience chest pain, which is also known as pre-infraction angina. According to the Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation (MHIF), knowing the early warning signs of a heart attack can help to prompt identification and treatment.
In a study done by MHIF, researchers here looked at data from 245 patients who suffered a heart attack. It was found that patients who experienced chest pain prior to a heart attack had a 50 per cent smaller occurrence as compared to those without chest pain. The “chest pain group” also had better heart function after they were discharged from hospital.
Dr. Jay Traverse, a research cardiologist at MHIF, mentioned that pre-heart attack chest pain activates the protective mechanisms in the heart before an attack.
Chest pain usually involves discomfort in the centre or left side of the chest, often lasting for more than a few minutes before going away and returning. This discomfort can be likened to uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing, or pain – mild or severe.
Although chest pain is one of the most common signs of a heart attack, the symptoms may very among male and female individuals. For males, it is a crushing sensation while for females, it may be more subtle as they experience persistent pain around the neck, shoulder and upper back.
Other symptoms of an impending heart attack could include stomach upset, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, dizziness, shortness of breath and excessive perspiring. It can develop suddenly, or even progressively within hours, days, or even weeks.
Know the symptoms of a heart attack and seek medical help immediately if you suspect anything. Early detection can lessen the damage sustained and save your life.