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Do you know the 'soft signs' of a heart attack?

*If you suspect you are having a heart attack, immediately call 9-1-1.

Know the soft signs of a heart attack, particularly in women and elderly people.If you’re with someone, especially elderly people, and they’re experiencing extreme tiredness as well as gastric discomfort, it would be easy to assume they must have eaten a hearty meal and these symptoms will pass after a nap. However, these may be signs – “soft signs” – of a heart attack.

Did you know there are multiple ways to tell if someone is experiencing a heart attack? There are common signs and symptoms as well as “soft signs” that someone may exhibit if having a heart attack.

While attending First Aid and CPR classes is the best way to help in an emergency like this, here are some tips, and what to look for, so you can start to get help underway.

Common Signs and Symptoms

Keep in mind while these are common signs and symptoms of a heart attack, symptoms can differ. For example, not everyone experiences chest pain during a heart attack.
  • Squeezing or crushing chest pain
  • Problems breathing
  • Abdominal or back pain (more common in women)
  • Cold, sweaty skin
  • Skin that is bluish or paler than normal
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Jaw pain

Soft Signs

Did you know that during a heart attack, many women and elderly people tend to experience "soft signs”? Though men can also experience these symptoms. Soft signs can include:
  • Mild, unfocused chest discomfort that:
          --Comes and goes
          --Doesn't feel like pain
          --Starts mild and gets continually stronger
          --Gets better with rest
          --Gets worse with activity
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Gastric discomfort
  • Flu-like symptoms
If you witness someone experiencing these symptoms, it’s important to take immediate action in case it is a heart attack – or if you are experiencing these symptoms, make sure to:
  1. Call 9-1-1 or local emergency services
  2. Have the person sit or rest and try to remain calm
  3. Chew either 1 regular-strength or 2 low-dose ASA (Aspirin) tablets, as long as not allergic.
  4. Begin CPR if the person is not breathing

Take Red Cross first aid and CPR courses to teach important life-saving skills, including how to recognize signs of breathing and circulation emergencies, and how to perform CPR, and use an AED.

Download our free First Aid app to have more resources at your fingertips!

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