A drop in your heart rate is normal, especially if it’s down to 30 to 50 beats per minute.
However, a rapid decrease in your heart rate could be a sign of a serious heart condition, such as a heart attack.
If you have these symptoms, it’s important to seek immediate medical attention.
You could also have a heart attack if you:
- Have chest pain or pressure
- Have shortness of breath
- Feel lightheaded or dizzy
If you don’t see a doctor right away, you may have another heart attack in the future.
Chest pain is often a sign of a heart attack, but it can also be due to other conditions.
Loss of consciousness
A heart attack leaves you unable to speak, walk, or move your arms or legs.
For example, you may experience:
- A loss of consciousness
- Slurred speech
- Trouble speaking
These symptoms may be mild, but they should be taken seriously.
Seek emergency medical attention if you experience:
- Loss of consciousness for more than a few minutes
- Severe chest pain
- Chest discomfort or pressure
Shortness of breath
If you have shortness of breath, it could be due to a heart attack. However, it can also be due to lung disease or heart failure.
Shortness of breath is usually mild, but it may become worse over time. It may also be accompanied by:
- Chest pain
- Pain on one side of your chest
- Aching in your chest
- Trouble breathing
- A feeling that your heart is pounding
Seek emergency medical attention if you experience any of these symptoms.
If you do end up in the hospital, your doctor may do a test to check for heart disease.
If your doctor determines that you have heart disease, they may recommend a procedure to restore your heart health.
To treat your heart disease, they may also recommend medication or other therapies.
Shortness of breath can also be a symptom of a heart attack. However, it can also be a symptom of lung disease.
When to call a doctor?
If you have shortness of breath or chest pain, seek immediate medical attention.
A heart attack is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of a heart attack, call 911 or your local emergency number.
You should also call your doctor if you have any of these symptoms:
- Shortness of breath
- Numbness or tingling in your arms or legs
- Drowsiness or sleepiness
If you have chest pain in the absence of shortness of breath, or if your chest pain is worsening, see your doctor.
Your doctor may order one of the following tests to test your heart for signs of heart disease:
- Electrocardiogram (ECG or EKG)
The ECG measures the electrical activity of your heart.
- Echocardiogram (echo)
The echo uses sound waves to check the structure and function of your heart.
- Chest X-ray
The chest X-ray uses a small amount of radiation to look at your heart and lungs.
- Echocardiogram (echo-CMP)
The echo-CMP is a more detailed ultrasound of your heart.
- Cardiac catheterization
The cardiac catheterization uses a small catheter to check the flow of blood through your heart.
- Nuclear stress test
The nuclear stress test is similar to a cardiac catheterization, but it uses a radioactive dye to see how your heart responds to stress.
- Cardiac CT scan
The cardiac CT scan is similar to a cardiac catheterization, but it uses a special type of X-ray to look at your heart.
- Cardiac MRI scan
The cardiac MRI scan is similar to a cardiac catheterization, but it uses magnetic fields and radio waves to look at your cardiovascular system.
What happens after a heart attack?
In the days after a heart attack, you may have shortness of breath, chest tightness, and pain in your chest.
Your doctor will likely want you to:
- Stay in bed. Try to avoid lifting anything over 10 pounds.
- Avoid physical activity.
- Do not drink alcohol or caffeine.
- Follow a heart-healthy diet to decrease your risk of heart disease.
Your doctor may also recommend medications to prevent another heart attack.
If you’ve already had a heart attack, you may need to take medications to reduce your risk of another one.
Some people with heart disease may also need to take medications that help lower their cholesterol.
How can you prevent a heart attack?
There are several ways you can reduce your risk of having a heart attack.
- Lose weight. Being overweight increases your risk of heart disease.
- Quit smoking. Smoking is a risk factor for heart disease.
- Eat a diet that’s low in saturated fat and cholesterol. These are the type of fats that can increase your cholesterol levels.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables.
- Exercise regularly.
- Quit drinking.
- Limit your consumption of alcohol.
- Limit your use of medications.
- Get your cholesterol checked.
- Take your blood pressure medication.
- Wear a medical alert bracelet.
If you’re a woman, you should talk to your doctor about:
- Having your cholesterol checked more often.
- Stopping smoking.
- Taking more heart-healthy medications.
- Checking your blood pressure regularly.
- Staying at a healthy weight.
- Getting enough sleep.
- Having your blood pressure and cholesterol checked at least once a year.
What’s the long-term outlook?
It’s important to follow your doctor’s recommended treatment plan.
Your life expectancy depends on the severity of your heart disease.
In general, a person who has heart disease has a 20% chance of living for more than 10 years after their first heart attack.
However, some people can live longer than others with heart disease.
In some cases, the cause of death may be something other than heart disease.
Who does this disease affect?
People who have heart disease may have a hard time exercising and maintaining a healthy diet.
They may also have a hard time following a healthy lifestyle.
People who have heart disease may have to take a number of medications and may have a hard time sticking to a treatment plan.
People with heart disease can have a hard time managing stress.
They can also have difficulty managing their emotions.
They may also be more likely to develop depression.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute report that heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States.
However, heart disease is the leading cause of death in some age groups.
The heart disease death rate is highest in adults 65 and older.
People who are younger than 65 and older than 85 have a higher risk of death than those who are 65 and older but are not experiencing heart disease.
What is the outlook for someone with heart disease?
The outlook for people with heart disease depends on their age and overall health.
As a general rule of thumb, people with heart disease may live for decades after they’re diagnosed.
In some cases, they may live for decades after they’ve had a heart attack.
However, they may be more likely to experience complications like:
- Coronary artery disease. This disease causes narrowing of the arteries that supply blood to the heart.
- Heart failure. This disease limits the amount of blood the heart can pump and is associated with swelling of the legs, ankles, and feet.
- Heart attack. This disease causes the heart to stop pumping blood.
According to the American Heart Association, heart disease is the leading cause of death in people who are 65 and older.
The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute report that heart disease is the leading cause of death in people younger than 65.
What should you do if you think you have heart disease?
Talk to your doctor if you think you may have heart disease.
They can help you develop a treatment plan based on your overall health.
They can also help you understand your treatment plan and help you manage your condition.
You can talk to your doctor about developing a healthy lifestyle. They may be able to help you create a plan to help manage your heart disease.
You may need to have a blood test, an echocardiogram, or a cardiac catheterization to check for heart disease.
Shortness of breath is a common symptom of a heart attack. However, shortness of breath can also be due to lung disease or heart disease.
A person with shortness of breath may need to visit the doctor for further testing.
If they have a heart attack, they may also need to take medications and undergo a stent.
People who have heart disease may be more likely to have complications like heart attack, heart failure, and death.
However, they can live a long time after their first heart attack.
Take steps to improve your overall health.
If you notice any of the symptoms of heart disease, see a doctor as soon as possible.
Their treatment plan can help you manage your condition and get back to your normal life
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