Are You At Risk of A Heart Attack?

Overweight young woman feel chest pain at home

Myocardial infarction, also known as a heart attack, occurs when a part of your heart is not supplied with enough blood. The longer it takes before you seek treatment to restore blood flow to the heart muscle, the worse the damage to the heart muscles. Coronary artery disease (CAD) is the primary underlying factor behind heart attacks.

However, other less common causes of developing heart disease, including sudden coronary artery contraction or severe spasm. Anything that stops or reduces blood flow to different parts of your heart muscles can trigger a heart attack. Coronary arteries are mostly blocked due to plaque, cholesterol-containing deposits in the heart.

Common Symptoms of Heart Attack and stroke

There are many symptoms of a heart attack, some severe, and others mild. The most common symptoms factors for heart disease include:

1. Chest Pain

Often, chest pain from a heart attack can be intense and sudden, easily recognizable. However, there is usually very little or no pain or discomfort for silent attacks. Chest pain happens in the middle of your chest and front of your body, including the upper abdomen and the neck.

It may also cause squeezing, pressure, or fullness. These signs are usually not continuous. They may start slowly and go away, then return after some time. There are many other causes of chest pain and discomfort besides a heart attack. However, chest pain remains the prevalent heart attack symptom due to poor blood flow.

The amount of pain differs in different people, and its intensity has no relationship with the severity of the condition. Some of the other risk factors for the complaints are:

  • One patient might feel mild discomfort while others experience crushing pain.

  • Some feel pain in the sternum (under the breastbone). This pain is, therefore, referred to as substernal. Others feel it in the arms, jaw, neck, stomach, or upper back.

  • In some situations, the patient might feel like somebody is squeezing their chest or heart or may feel heavy.

  • For patients suffering from angina, chest pain occurs with emotion or activity and can be cured by taking a medicine known as nitroglycerin. Resting also helps in eliminating angina-related chest pain.

2. Dizziness and Difficult Breathing

Simple activities like climbing stairs are not enough to wear you out. If you feel exhausted from minor tasks, it could be due to heart vessel blockage affecting blood flow to certain body parts. Some patients also experience shortness of breath with or without chest pain. This is common in silent heart attacks.

If you feel lightheaded or dizzy, it’s possible you could faint. Shortness of breath is a common experience in women, but sometimes, it also affects men. Light-headedness or dizziness can have various causes; if accompanied by other symptoms, consider seeking a checkup. If simple tasks like taking a walk or tidying up are becoming difficult, consider going for a checkup.

3. Nausea, Heartburn, Indigestion, or Stomach Pain

Although these are uncommon, some patients experience them, and some even vomit. Like a breathless experience, these symptoms are more common in women than men. However, because of the greater risk of various factors causing stomach upsets, it can only be excluded as a heart attack sign in the hospital.

Consider visiting the hospital if you experience an upset stomach with other symptoms. At the same medical and family history, a checkup is advisable if you’re more at risk for heart problems.

4. Throat or Jaw Pain

Throat or jaw pain alone might not relate to your heart health. Sinus problems, muscular issues, or a cold can cause this. However, if you experience pressure or pain in the chest (center) that goes up your jaw or throat, it could signal a heart attack. Call for emergency assistance from the nearby health center for medical attention.

5. Swelling in the Feet, Ankles, and Legs

Edema or swelling in the lower legs can also indicate heart issues. Blood flow is usually slow when your heart isn’t working properly. As a result, blood can back up in the veins of your legs. This causes fluid build-up in your tissues. This can also cause notable weight gain or swelling in your stomach.

Other signs include:

  • Fast or uneven heartbeat

  • Fatigue

  • Coughing or wheezing

  • Heavy sweating

  • Extreme anxiety

  • Change in skin color

  • Abnormal snoring

Risk Factors of A Heart Attack

There are two major groups of heart attack and risk factors for heart:; those you can control and those that cannot.

Risk Factors That You Can’t Control

Gender: Women are more prone to experience simple heart attack signs like nausea and fatigue than men. On the other hand, men are at a higher risk factor of experiencing heart attack deaths than women.

Age: Most people who die of heart attack are aged 65 and above. However, a man’s risk of heart attack rises at 45 years old while that of woman starts at 55 years.

Genes: Family history can lead to your heart disease risk and early trouble. Suppose your father or brother was diagnosed with coronary heart disease at the age of 55 years or younger. The same applies if your mother or sister suffered from coronary heart disease at the age of 65 or younger.

Risk Factors You Can Control

Diet: Eating balanced foods is effective against heart and cardiovascular disease. Some of these foods include low-fat dairy, vegetables and grains, poultry and fish, and fruits. Reduce consumption of sugar and red meat.

Blood pressure: High blood pressure can decrease the efficiency of your heart by altering your heart’s structures. If you suffer from high blood pressure or heart disease risk factors, you should take medications to regulate it. You should also consider eating a healthy diet and engaging in physical activities.

Get regular exercise: To stay healthy and in good shape, adults should use moderate exercise at least 150 minutes per week.

Diabetes: Diabetic patients have twice the risk of heart disease. This is because if high cholesterol and blood sugar is not controlled, it can result in plaque in your arteries.

Anxiety and chronic stress: Emotional breakdown can work as catalysts of coronary heart disease. They may raise cholesterol levels and your blood pressure or tighten your arteries. Poor mental health can also lead to bad diet and inactivity.

Alcoholism: Drinking alcohol can raise triglycerides and high blood cholesterol, amplify cardiac health risks or cause irregular heartbeat. Men should have no more than two drinks per day and one for women.


We are all candidates for coronary heart disease. However, some are at higher risk for heart disease than others. Knowing the risk factors and signs of heart disease lowers the number of deaths caused by heart disease.


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The content on this page is for informational and educational purposes only and does not constitute professional medical advice. Patients should not use the information presented on this page for diagnosing a health-related issue or disease. Before taking any medication or supplements, patients should always consult a physician or qualified healthcare professional for medical advice or information about whether a drug is safe, appropriate or effective.