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What should you do if you think you are having a heart attack?

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Quick Answer

It is best to immediately call 911 upon any suspicion of a heart attack, recommends WebMD. Driving oneself to the hospital should be avoided unless no other option is available, as loss of consciousness and subsequent accident can occur due to heart attack. If a patient's heart stops along the way to the hospital, emergency medical services personnel can work to revive the patient and apply other forms of treatment.

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What should you do if you think you are having a heart attack?
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Full Answer

Chest discomfort, upper body pain and shortness of breath are common symptoms of a heart attack, according to WebMD. Other symptoms, which often apply more to women, include nausea, vomiting, extreme fatigue and abdominal pain. In both sexes, chest discomfort may be sporadic and feel like a pressure or squeezing pain in the center. If delivered within the first hour of symptoms, specific medications can dissolve blood clots and expand arteries. The chances of long-term damage to the heart and death are drastically increased if the patient waits more than an hour for treatment.

Remaining calm, lying down, and chewing and swallowing baby aspirin are ideal measures when waiting for paramedics to arrive, recommends WebMD. CPR should be performed on a heart attack victim if he stops breathing. If an individual is untrained in CPR, 911 operators can give instructions.

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