The Guide To Heart Attack Symptoms

How many times have we heard about them? Seen advertisements about them on TV? Read about someone who was experiencing them and unfortunately died? Yes, I’m talking about heart attack symptoms.


My First Experience

The first introduction I had to what a heart attack was came to me at age 10. My friend and fellow Boy Scout, Andy Fields, lost his father to a heart attack during a summer evening of fun and dancing while attending a charitable event. I remember the next morning hearing about what had happened and feeling so sad for Andy.

No one should lose their father at such a young age. Andy’s dad was tall and slim. No one would have predicted that he had some form of heart condition. From that moment forward I was terrified that I might lose my own father to this dreaded disease. Through the years I have had many friends that have had heart attacks. Some made it; others weren’t so lucky. But one thing is for sure, it changed the course of life for each person and their family members in the most dramatic way.

Life Saving Procedures

During my life I have probably been trained in CPR at least 15 times. Twenty years ago as an adjunct instructor for Georgia Southwestern State University in Americus, GA, I taught classes in CPR and First Aid to college students for course credits. And that friend Andy, who lost his dad…he and I were on the same Boy Scout First Aid Team that competed against other troops throughout Pennsylvania.

And yet to this day, I have never had to use my CPR skills to save someone’s life. I had never been around a person who was experiencing the warning signals of a heart attack; not until last week. And fortunately, I remembered the all-important first step in an emergency – Call 911!

Save Lives With These Signs

Time is of the essence when someone is experiencing a heart attack. And the signs can somewhat vary depending on each situation but here are the most common and helpful heart attack symptoms:

  • Chest pains
  • Tightness in the chest
  • Pain radiating down the arm, in the jaw or through the back.
  • Breaking out in a cold sweat
  • Feeling dizzy or lightheaded
  • Nausea

It would be easy to dismiss these symptoms as something else so please take them seriously. Don’t take that chance.  As The American Heart Association indicates, Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.

Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

There Can Be Happy Endings

Fortunately this story has a happy ending. My friend and co-worker is alive and well. Many thanks go to the First Responders, EMS and the staff at The Heart Hospital of St. Joseph’s. They were all incredible in their efforts. So know ALL the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and make the call to 911 as soon as possible.


-Rich Delong (Executive Director  – The Station Exchange, Richmond Hill GA)



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Stay Healthy And Happy My Friends.