Heart attacks occur when the supply of blood to the hearts is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot.
Experiencing one is a serious medical emergency since a lack of blood to the heart could cause serious damage to the heart muscle and be life-threatening.
It is therefore important to be aware of the signs that you or someone else is suffering.
According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), common signs include chest pain, sweating, becoming short of breath, feeling nauseous or vomiting, and pain in arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach, sweating.
Additionally, an overwhelming feeling of anxiety is another key sign.
Here are three things you should do if you are someone else is having a heart attack.
You should phone 999 immediately for an ambulance.
The BHF found in a survey that around half of heart attack survivors delayed seeking medical help for their symptoms for over an hour.
Doing so sooner rather than later could save your life.
According to the BHF, you should then sit and rest while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Take an aspiration
You should not get up and look for an aspirin, as this may put unnecessary strain on your heart.
However if an adult aspirin tablet (300mg) is available chew on it, unless you’ve been told not to or you think you might be allergic.
If the person is unconscious, use CPR or a defibrillator
According to the Mayo Clinic, if you’re with a person who might be having a heart attack – or a cardiac arrest – and he or she is unconscious, tell someone when you call 999.
A cardiac arrest is slightly different to a heart attack, in that it occurs when the heart stops beating.
The person on the 999 call may give cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR).
If you haven’t had first aid training, you may be instructed to perform chest compressions.
You may also be asked to use a defibrillator – a machine used to deliver this therapeutic shock to the heart – if one is to hand.
A study by the University of Warwick published earlier this week found that many people are reluctant to use public access defibrillators.
However, it could save someone’s life.
“A study conducted in the US showed that the chance of survival was nearly double in the group that received CPR and were treated with a public access defibrillator compared to the group that received CPR alone,” Gavin Perkins, Professor in Critical Care Medicine at Warwick Medical School.
For more information on how to perform CPR visit sja.org.uk