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What Happens During a Heart Attack?

We’ve all seen someone act out a heart attack on television. But, do you know what actually happens during a heart attack? Would you recognize when your older family member is having one? You may not because all heart attacks are not the same.

Home Health Care Casselberry FL - What Happens During a Heart Attack?How a Heart Attack Happens

A heart attack happens when a blood vessel that brings oxygen rich blood to the heart becomes blocked. The blockage is often a result of a plaque breaking away and causing a clot to form. Plaque is comprised of fat, cholesterol, and other things. The blockage causes part of the heart muscle not to get enough oxygen, which makes the tissue start to die. When the person having a heart attack gets help quickly, doctors can minimize the damage using medications or a catheter to open the blood vessel.

Heart Attack Symptoms

Not all heart attacks resemble the massive ones you typically see on television. Some happen quickly like that and involve tense pain but most of them come on slowly, starting with mild pain or discomfort, then worsening.

Some signs that your aging relative is having a heart attack are:

  1. A feeling of pressure, squeezing, pain, or fullness in the middle of the chest.
  2. Pain or an uncomfortable feeling in one or both arms, the neck, jaw, stomach, or back.
  3. Feeling short of breath, even if there is no chest pain.
  4. Cold sweat.
  5. Nausea.
  6. Lightheadedness.
  7. Indigestion or heartburn.
  8. Fatigue.

While some heart attacks do happen suddenly, a lot of people have symptoms long before the heart attack reaches its peak. Some may even have symptoms up to a week before the attack. One of the most common early warning signs is chest pain that happens on and off. It typically comes on when the person is active and goes away when they rest.

If you notice signs of a heart attack in your aging relative, it’s important that you call 911 immediately. Remember, the sooner they get help, the more successful treatment is likely to be. If the doctor has prescribed nitroglycerin for the older adult or if the emergency personnel tell you to give them aspirin, make sure they take it.

Home health care can assist older adults during recovery from a heart attack. A home health care provider can drive them to cardiac rehabilitation appointments. Home health care providers can also keep an eye on them when family caregivers are not available to watch for signs of another heart attack.


If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Health Care Services in Casselberry FL, please contact the caring staff at Flourish in Place Home Care Solutions today.  Proudly serving Orange, Osceola, Seminole, and Brevard Counties. Call 407-845-9797.


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