Here is the funny thing about heart attack victims: it often happens to people when they are alone. So that begs the question of how to survive a heart attack when you are alone.
The statistics of heart attacks or cardiovascular diseases are very grim. According to the World Health Organization, WHO, cardiovascular diseases are the number one cause of death worldwide. The figures show that an estimated 7 million people around the world die from a heart attack every year.
That is a huge number of people. And you can guess that a majority of those suffered fatal attacks when nobody was around to be of assistance
Symptoms of heart attack
- Discomfort mostly in the center of the chest
- Pains in your left shoulder, arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach
- Difficulty in breathing due to the pains in the chest
- Cold sweats
- Irregular, rapid heartbeats
- Dizziness, light-headedness, generally body weakness, and high levels of anxiety
- Feeling of nausea
Before talking about how to survive a heart attack when you are alone, let’s remind us that it is better to prevent heart attacks. Some of the preventive measures include
- Quit smoking or avoid second-hand smoke
- Make sure your blood pressure is healthy by constantly checking it
- Eat healthy foods to limit your intake of calories and cholesterol
- Exercise frequently, daily if possible
- Reduce or eliminate things that cause stress in your life
Taking all those measures would markedly reduce the possibility of a heart attack in your life.
However, if you are genetically prone to it, you are still likely to suffer from a heart attack. This is where information like this comes in handy.
How to survive a heart attack when you are alone
1. Reach for your Aspirin
When you notice the symptoms of heart attack or the onset of it, chewing in a single pill of aspirin can work wonders in stopping the attack.
It is important to chew the aspirin slowly before swallowing. Swallowing it whole with water takes a long time for it to digest. Chewing releases more of the medicine directly into your stomach making it faster to get to your blood stream.
A warning though: don’t use this method of surviving a heart attack if you have a condition that doesn’t work well with aspirin.
2. Do not panic
The onset of a heart attack can be alarming to victims. It is common for people to start running around thinking of what to do. However, your best option is to stay calm as much as possible.
You can stay calm by thinking happy thoughts or concentrate on counting numbers slowly.
You can improvise any way you want to as long as what you do calms you down.
3. Lie down in a comfortable place
Lying down doesn’t imply heading to your bed and curling up under your comfortable blanket.
To survive a heart attack when you are alone, you need to lie down in a special way. First of all, it has to be on your back. That is very important.
Secondly, and equally important too, you need to raise your legs up while you are lying down on you back. You can rest the legs on a chair close by or on any object.
Doing this would reduce the pressure on your heart by opening up the diaphragm, making it easier to breathe. At the same time, more oxygen is carried to your heart faster and easily.
4. If you can’t lie down…
Sometimes you could be unfortunate to find yourself in a situation where it is impossible to lie down; perhaps while crossing traffic. Just walk carefully with your attention fixed on the horizon.
Concentrating your attention on the horizon or some large object in the distance would help calm you down. It should get you safely to a place you can get proper help.
5. Breath in and out deeply, slowly and steadily
Naturally, an attack gets you panicking; your instinct is to take in fast, shallow breaths. Try to suppress that instinct.
Your best bet is to breathe slowly, deeply and steadily. Apart from the fact that it would aid calm you down, breathing like that would increase the supply of blood to your heart.
A good tip is to make make sure you move near an open window. Generally, just make sure the area is very well ventilated if you are indoors.
Things you must not do to survive a heart attack when you are alone
1. Don’t cough
I won’t be surprised if you’ve read somewhere that coughing mitigates the symptoms of heart attack. It is one of those myths made popular by the internet.
Coughing might actually put you in more danger as it would sabotage your attempts to breathe slowly, deeply and steadily. Coughing disrupts the flow of much-needed blood to your heart.
2. Don’t eat or drink anything
Naturally, when you are in danger, the last thing on your mind is eating something. If by the off chance you feel like eating or drinking, suppress the thought or kill the desire.
The only thing that should pass through your mouth is your aspirin pill. And perhaps a sip or two of water.
3. Don’t drive
Perhaps, you know the signs and can spot a heart attack from a mile off; the temptation would be to get into your car and drive over to the hospital. Don’t.
Driving would increase your anxiety as you navigate traffic. That would only hasten the attack to full blown.
And you might easily be killed if the attack sets in while you are driving. Worst still, you would be a risk to other road users.
The fact you have successfully survived a heart attack when you are alone doesn’t mean you are home free. These are just the first steps in taking care of yourself.
The things to do next involves taking care of your heart the best way you can. So you must:
- Call your doctor or call someone you trust
- Have them drive you to the hospital
- Discuss with your doctor the best preventive or mitigating measures for you
- You can always carry a card with your medical condition in your wallet. The card should have relevant information like who to contact, medication info, and so on.