Allow us to help you survive heart attack when alone

Updated at: Sep 29, 2017
Allow us to help you survive heart attack when alone

It may not be easy to survive a heart attack when you are alone but many deaths can be prevented by acting quickly and getting treatment right away.

Ariba Khaliq
Heart HealthWritten by: Ariba KhaliqPublished at: Sep 29, 2017

Anil was fortunate enough to survive a heart attack when he was alone. Everyone might not be. You may not be! To realise that you are getting an attack and to manage it well until help arrives proves to be terribly unmanageable without a second hand.

Being aware of the millions of deaths caused by heart attack worldwide, one must know how to tackle the demon for it may prey upon you while you are alone. The American Heart Association states:

"The best strategy is to be aware of the early warning signs for heart attack and cardiac arrest and respond to them by calling [the emergency number in your country]."

Warning signs

  • Pressure or pain in the chest that seems to be triggered by exertion and which may disappear when you rest.
  • Heart palpitations or rapid heartbeat.
  • Pain in the upper abdomen lasting several minutes, often similar to the feeling of heartburn.
  • Pain or discomfort in the arms, neck, jaw, or teeth.
  • Lightheadedness, dizziness, vertigo.
  • Profuse sweating.
  • Nausea (particularly in women).
  • A sudden general feeling of illness.

What to do when you are experiencing heart attack and nobody is around.

Take Aspirin or nitroglycerin

A lot of people benefit from aspirin if taken at the onset of a heart attack. “Many deaths could be prevented by acting quickly and getting treatment right away,” Dr. Robert Frankel, Director of Interventional Cardiology, said in a Maimonides Medical Center report. “A person will commonly feel pressure or heaviness in their chest, which can travel to their shoulder, left arm or neck.”

Once the emergency response team has been called—or even before that time—individuals waiting at home should take between 162 and 325 mg of aspirin. Individuals who suspect a heart attack should chew (not swallow) one tablet of 325 mg aspirin.

Do not drive

It is better to call for an ambulance than to drive by yourself to the hospital. The AHA says, if you're driving alone and you start having severe chest pain or discomfort that starts to spread into your arm and up into your jaw, pull over and flag down another motorist for help or phone [the emergency number in your country] on a cellular telephone.

Keep emergency numbers on speed dial

After taking aspirin and calling for ambulance, one must immediately contact their family, friends or whoever can reach you fast. Keeping important phone numbers on speed dial saves time and is more convenient when you are unwell.

If you are on a flight and experiencing the signs of heart attack, you must contact the flight attendant immediately who will provide you with appropriate medical help.

Do not panic

Do not panic if you are feeling uncomfortable. Relax. Avoid moving because physical activity will worsen your condition. Be careful about not doing any action that makes breathing difficult. If possible, keep an oxygen cylinder at your home; it can come in handy in difficult situations.

Put pressure on chest

Sometimes, a person may get a heart attack without experiencing any signs or symptoms. The condition can be fatal as it does not allow the patient to take necessary steps in order to prevent the damage. If you are experiencing acute angina (chest pain), press your chest as hard as you can. Although, it is arduous to put adequate pressure on one’s own chest, putting your limits to test can save your life.

Lower your body temperature

Keep a wet towel under your underarms and your groin to keep your body temperature from shooting up. Optimising the body temperature has been observed as a life saving action in various cases of heart attack.

The patient’s heartbeat rate increases drastically because of which the patient takes quick but long breaths. Ideally, one should be doing the opposite.

Recall happy memories

After your body temperature comes down to normal, try relaxing. Recalling memories that make you happy can aid this situation.  Once you feel mellow, try to get maximum oxygen to your brain by lying down on the floor and lifting both your legs.

Tips to relieve heart attack shock

Avoid consuming any kinds of foods or liquids; they may worsen your condition.

Open your windows and doors for proper ventilation. You can stand in front of a fan or air-conditioner to get sufficient air for breathing.

If you believe you are experiencing a heart attack, it is important to get medical attention as soon as possible. Call emergency services, report the problem, and a medical professional will be able to talk you through the steps you should take until help arrives.

Image: Shutterstock


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