Think You're Having a Heart Attack? Here’s What To Do

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Playing What To Do If You Think You're Having a Heart Attack | Ask Doctor Mike
What To Do If You Think You're Having a Heart Attack | Ask Doctor Mike Aired August 21, 2019

We all know that the best thing to do if you think you or someone you're with is having a heart attack is to call 911 STAT — but is there anything you can do to help yourself or others until the ambulance arrives? 

According to Instagram's favorite doctor and Family Medicine Physician Dr. Mike Varshavski, people who believe they're having a heart attack should take an aspirin as quickly as possible. (As long as you're not allergic and haven't been advised otherwise by a doctor, of course, Dr. Mike says.)

The doctor suggests either taking four low-dose aspirin (which are NOT called baby aspirin anymore, because babies should NOT be taking them) OR taking one regular strength aspirin.

And don't just swallow it — chew it, the doc suggests. "We found that that absorbs quicker and acts faster," he explains. 

The aspirin works by inactivating the platelets in blood cells that cause clots which is usually the cause of a heart attack.

So, let's back up. How do you know if you're having a heart attack?

"If you're feeling short of breath, dizzy, [experiencing] chest pain — all these things happening simultaneously — pop the aspirin," Dr. Mike says. 

But here's the tricky part ...

"Men and women feel heart attacks differently," the physician explains. "The classic symptoms that we see in men is that pressure, the elephant sitting on your chest — [which doesn't] often happen with women."

"[Women] have more substernal pain," he continues, "maybe discomfort, sometimes radiating to the jaw instead of to the arm." 

The jaw?! Now you know.

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