Updated: Oct 28, 2020
This article is a transcribed edited summary of a video Bob and Brad recorded in May of 2018.
For the original video go to https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QOm7qAFGVMg&t=137s
Bob: Body Warns 1 Month Before Heart Attack – 7 Warning Signs YOU MUST KNOW. This sounds pretty ominous Brad.
Brad: It is. You know, something as therapists who have been doing this for over 50 years combined, we’re well aware of these signs. It’s just part of our daily mindset. For people who aren’t aware of this, we want to let you know that we’ve seen this at work. We’re aware of it in regard to our own bodies. I’ve had experience with it personally.
Bob: Yes, you should never discount these. I mean, if I see even one of these signs in a patient, I look at it very very seriously. Fortunately for us, we have nurses available quite often that are nearby, but I never discount it. I never not believe the person.
Brad: These warning signs are a real important and serious thing and you just need to be aware of these. Should we get right into it?
Bob: Yeah, let’s go. Probably number one is one of the more common ones.
Brad: These aren’t particularly in order of most common. You may have one of these or you may have several. There’s seven of them here. One is pressure, squeezing, often in the center of the chest, often in the left side of the chest. It doesn’t always have to be on the left side.
Bob: It’s like an elephant sitting on your chest.
Brad: It’s a very common complaint from people. The whole reason for a heart attack is that the heart is lacking blood supply to the heart muscles because one of the arteries is being occluded or blocked off. Then your heart is like, I need some oxygen and blood so it's sending off pain. Often times, the pain is not here at the heart, but like to the left side then we’ve got some other symptoms coming up on referred pain.
Bob: Yes, the thing about this is, don’t always look for that chest pressure. I’ve had patients who literally were having a heart attack when we had them in the department. Most of them didn’t have the chest pain. Not even the pressure on the chest. They had some of the other ones. We’ll go through them.
Brad: The next one is referred pain, where people will say they have pain in their left arm or their jaw or their neck, but the source of the pain is the heart. A heart attack technically is a myocardial infarction. If you ever see that or read that name that’s the same as a heart attack. Because the heart is lacking in the blood supply, the pain refers, and I don’t know if that’s clearly understood.
Bob: It’s strange that it refers all the way down the left arm. I’ve never understood what the pathway is that allows that. I’ve seen it where a lot of people have mistaken it for heartburn. Especially if you have heartburn normally. It’s kind of a tricky thing because, do you go in? I think if it persists or if it doesn’t get better with what you normally do for heartburn, like take antacid or something.
Brad: Right, and if that doesn’t help it, this all falls together but sometimes even pain in the abdomen can be a referred pain. This is not a straightforward thing but there’s all these signs that you have to think about.
Bob: You actually can have a couple combined and then you really start to worry.
Brad: The body just becomes weak often times. People say they feel sluggish. They don’t have the energy they normally do. It’s because the heart is not moving the blood to the body with as much force as it normally can because it’s becoming weaker as a result of the poor blood supply to the muscle.
Bob: You know, since you brought that up Brad, I’m going to throw one more in there that kind of fits along in there. A lot of patients I have seen that were in the midst of having a heart attack they become very ashen, very grey looking or that pallor or white look.
Brad: Like that ashtray look.
Bob: Yeah. Their color just does not look good. Most of the ones I’ve seen that was the case.
Brad: Often they have the next number: the dizziness, the cold sweats. You start to get beads of sweat coming off the forehead when it’s not warm out. It's not because of the temperature.
Bob: I had a patient come in and he walked in a very short way and he was just sweating. I asked him if he normally sweat like that and he goes, “no, no”. I’m like, this is not good. So, I called Dr. Peterson, down in Rushford, and I say, “Doc, you know this is going on,” and he goes, “Well, Bob, I think I should be seeing him rather then you.” I actually drove him down; I probably shouldn’t have. I should’ve probably called an ambulance because they airlifted him, it was that bad. That’s another mistake by the way, if that person starts having the heart attack, what are you going to do? Maybe if you’re trained in CPR but you have to call the ambulance and get them down there so they can help.
Brad: I don’t want to prolong these steps, but my father had a heart attack about five years ago. It was in the middle of the night. He woke my mom up and said, “Jeez, I don’t feel good, I think I’m having a heart attack.” Because he had heart problems. So, what does he do? He goes in the car and he drives not to the hospital that’s three miles away, because that hospital’s no good. He has to go to the hospital that’s 30 miles away. He’s literally driving himself to the ER.
Bob: Did your mom come with?
Brad: YEAH! She wasn’t driving at that time. She’s in there all nervous while he’s driving with his arm and chest hurting. He made it there and everything turned out okay but don’t do that. Call 911 and get the ambulance. I’m glad I heard about that after he got well.
Bob: Right, that’s not a story you want to hear.
Brad: Another one, shortness of breath. That’s one where you may be doing an activity, a little more active then normal and you get short of breath and it’s like, why am I getting short of breath, I didn’t do that much. Sometimes it’ll happen without any activity. This is what I had and when I went in, the doctor said, "when you do an activity that normally raises your heart rate, you normally get short of breath. But are you getting clearly more short of breath than you should be." Then often times there’s other symptoms so activity can create symptoms but then when you rest, your symptoms can go away.
Bob: I have a friend that I saw this past weekend and he was at a factory where he works. He became short of breath and they ran him immediately to the hospital. It was a panic attack and that was his only symptom was shortness of breath, but they took it very seriously.
Brad: We’re kind of mixing this up a little bit because they are related, but the final one would be nausea. A person just feels ill. So, these can overlap. It’s not just one, two, three. If you get more then one of them, if you just don’t feel right about it, get to the hospital. Get there, find out what’s going on. They’re going to check you, they’re going to draw some blood, they’ll check your troponin level, which is something in the blood that happens after you have a heart attack. I don’t want to get into details about that, but I do want to give some good news before we finish this video. I don’t know the exact percentage, but I do know it’s over 30% of people with chest pain that go in, do not have a heart attack. Other causes, such as Costochondritis, we’ve got a couple of videos on that, you may be getting it from a lung problem. You may have pleurisy, pneumonia, things that can cause a problem.
Bob: Acid reflux. So, there’s a lot of other causes but that still doesn’t mean you discount it.
Brad: Yes, you have to go in and make sure you know.
Bob: If you don’t, we’re going to come out and slap you. That’s the one time we get violent.
Brad: Your life is literally at stake here.
Bob: So, be around, be around for your loved ones. By the way Brad, this really fits,
Brad: it really does,
Bob: Brad and I can fix just about anything,
Brad: Except for,
Bob: A broken heart.
Brad: But go on into the ER and they can fix it right there.
Bob: Thanks everybody for watching.
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