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How should you respond to early signs of a heart attack?

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Quick Answer

If someone is displaying the early signs of a heart attack, ask him to sit down, rest and attempt to keep calm, and loosen any tight articles of clothing, advises MedlinePlus. If the victim takes medication for heart pain, find it and help him take it. If the person takes a nitroglycerin tablet and the pain continues for more than three minutes or he loses consciousness, call immediately for emergency medical assistance.

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Full Answer

On the average, people wait three hours before seeking help for a heart attack, according to MedlinePlus. Quick emergency help is often essential for survival, but the delay in seeking help means that many people die on the way to the hospital.

Some signs of a heart attack include persistent discomfort in the center of the chest, pain in the chest that comes and goes, shortness of breath, and pain in other parts of the upper body. Women are more likely to experience jaw pain, nausea or vomiting, according to the American Heart Association.

Symptoms such as swelling of the feet, a persistent cough, an irregular heartbeat or snoring can indicate that a person has a higher-than-normal risk for a heart attack. While these symptoms are not as serious as the signs of a heart attack, it is best to schedule an appointment to discuss them with a doctor, advises WebMD.

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