Early Heart Attack Care

Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC)

Early Heart Attack Care (EHAC) education teaches you to recognize the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. We want you to become an active bystander so you can save a life – even if it’s yours.

  • About 750,000 people in the US have heart attacks each year. Of those, about 116,000 die.
  • Many of these patients experienced early symptoms.
  • These “beginnings” may occur in 50% of patients
  • If recognized, people can be treated before heart damage occursSomeone might have one or more of these common symptoms. When they start, they can be mild or come and go. Over time, the symptoms and pain become more intense. Stay alert and always pay attention to chest pressure.

Learn the early signs and symptoms:

  • Feeling of fullness
  • Pain that travels down one or both arms
  • Jaw pain
  • Excessive fatigue or weakness
  • Anxiety
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pressure, squeezing, aching or burning

 What are the risk factors?

These are the general risk factors. Discuss your risk with your doctor.

  • Chest pain, pressure, burning, aching or tightness – it may come and go
  • A family history of cardiovascular disease
  • High blood pressure
  • Overweight or obese
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Using tobacco products
  • Metabolic disease, diabetes or other illnesses
  • For women, it can also include birth control pills, a history of pre-eclampsia, gestational diabetes or having a low birth weight baby

What is the difference between for men and women?

Some heart attack symptoms can be different between men and women. Why does it matter? Women may be less likely to seek immediate medical care which can cause more damage to the heart.

  • Men normally feel pain and numbness in the left arm or side of chest, but in women, these symptoms may appear on the right side.
  • Women may feel completely exhausted, drained, dizzy or nauseous.
  • Women may feel upper back pain that travels up into their jaw.
  • Women may think their stomach pain is the flue, heartburn or an ulcer.

What are atypical presentations?

In an atypical presentation, the signs and symptoms are different. The patient may not complain about pain or pressure in the chest. Be alert for the following:

  • A sharp or “knife-like” pain that occurs with coughing or breathing
  • Pain that spreads above the jawbone or into the lower body
  • Difficult or labored breathing

SAVE a life:

  • If someone collapses, call 9-1-1
  • Perform hands-only CPR
  • Find and deploy an AED (automated external defibrillator)
  • CAMC offers basic life support training classes that are available to the public. To sign up, click here.