Wed. Dec 8th, 2021

Heart Attack Self-Care at Home

2 min read

Doctor drawing ecg heartbeat chart with marker on whiteboard concept for healthcare and medicine

Classic symptoms of a heart attack may include:

  • chest pain associated with shortness of breath
  • profuse sweating

The chest pain may be described as tightness, fullness, a pressure, or an ache.

Unfortunately, many people do not have these classic signs. Other signs and symptoms of heart attack may include:

  • indigestion
  • jaw ache
  • pain only in the shoulders or arms
  • shortness of breath
  • nausea and vomiting.

This list is not complete, since many times people can experience a heart attack with minimal symptoms. In women and the elderly, heart attack symptoms can be atypical and sometimes so vague they are easily missed. The only complaint may be extreme weakness or fatigue.

Pain may also radiate from the chest to the neck, jaw, shoulder, or back and be associated with shortness of breath, nausea, and sweating.

Self-Care at Home:

The first step to take when chest pain occurs is to call 911 and activate the Emergency Medical System. First responders, EMTs, and paramedics can begin treating a heart attack en-route to the hospital, alert the Emergency Department that the patient is on the way, and treat some of the complications of a heart attack should they occur.

Step two is to take an aspirin. Aspirin makes platelets less sticky and can minimize blood clot formation and prevent further blockage of the artery.

Step three is to rest. When the body does work, the heart has to pump blood to supply oxygen to the muscles and clear the waste products of metabolism. When heart function is limited because it doesn’t have an adequate blood supply itself, asking it to do more work may cause more damage and risk further complications.


While there are many risk factors that are out of your control, there are still some basic steps you can take to keep your heart healthy. Smoking is a major cause of heart disease. Starting a smoking cessation program can reduce your risk. Maintaining a healthy diet, exercising, and limiting your alcohol intake are other important ways to reduce your risk.

If you have diabetes, be sure to take your medications and check your blood glucose levels regularly. If you have a heart condition, work closely with your doctor and take your medication. Talk to your doctor if you have any concerns about your risk of a heart attack.

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