Originally published 12/06/2017
Heart attacks can happen any time, any place – including on the construction site. Knowing the early warning signs of a heart attack is critical for fast diagnosis and treatment.
Many heart attacks start slowly. You might not even know you’re having one. And the symptoms vary greatly. Even a person who has had a previous heart attack may have different symptoms if they have another attack. And women can experience heart attacks differently than men.
Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, a person may experience one or more of the following:
- Pain, fullness, and/or a squeezing sensation of the chest;
- Jaw pain, toothache or headache;
- Shortness of breath;
- Nausea, vomiting, and/or general upper middle abdomen discomfort;
- Heartburn and/or indigestion;
- Arm pain – more commonly the left arm, but may be either arm;
- Upper back pain;
- A general, vague feeling of illness and
- Some people do not experience any symptoms. Approximately one quarter of all heart attacks are silent – without chest pain or other symptoms. Silent heart attacks are especially common among patients with diabetes.
Go for regular check-ups, eat healthy foods, exercise and get enough sleep. Pay attention to what your body is telling you. If you think you or someone around you is displaying heart attack symptoms, do something about it. Get it checked out.
What to do if someone appears to be having a heart attack:
- Call 911. Even if it ends up not being a heart attack, it is better to be safe than sorry. Getting the proper medical attention quickly for a heart attack victim is their best chance to survive an attack.
- Try to keep the person calm, and have them sit or lie down.
- Have the person take an aspirin (as long as they can talk to you and tell you they are not allergic to aspirin).
- If the person stops breathing, you or someone else who is qualified, should perform CPR. If you do not know CPR, the 911 operator can assist you until the EMS personnel arrive.
Take heart attack symptoms seriously. We know most of the people we work with pretty well. If something seems wrong, talk to the person or get a supervisor involved. Know the emergency response plan on your worksite. Knowing who to call, the address of the worksite and who is CPR trained onsite can save a life.