Mayo Clinic cardiologist Sharon Mulvagh, MD told us exactly what tests should be administered by a doctor to a patient who thinks they may be having a heart attack.
The most important thing to remember is to communicate. “If you’re in the throes of a heart attack, you need to communicate and tell the doctors what’s wrong, and don’t leave until these things are fully addressed,” Dr. Mulvagh advised.
Doctors evaluate three specific factors when diagnosing an acute heart attack. First, doctors will look at a patient’s symptoms and see if they align with common symptoms of a heart attack.
Next, doctors will administer a blood test to check for elevated levels of an enzyme called troponin. Elevated levels of this enzyme indicate damage to the heart muscle.
Finally, a doctor uses an electrocardiogram to look at the electrical tracings of the heart activity. If anything looks abnormal, this could indicate an acute heart attack.
For more tips for a healthy heart, view the slideshow below:
Ten minutes of exercise a day can drastically reduce your risk of heart disease. Some basic, quick exercises include taking the stairs at work, jogging around the block or taking the dog for a brisk walk.
What you eat makes a big difference for your heart. Try incorporating leafy greens, like spinach and chard, into your diet, substituting sugary snacks with fresh fruit and doubling up on veggies in recipes.
Exercise doesn't always have to be a drag! Some fun exercise options include jumping rope, biking, swimming or dancing.
To lower your risk of high blood pressure, eat fruits and vegetables at the beginning of your meal, try to maintain a weight in the “healthy” or “ideal” range and limit your alcohol intake.
Surprisingly, both smoking and sitting in a chair all day increase your risk of heart attack about the same amount. Get on your feet by walking around during television commercial breaks, standing up while you’re on the phone or getting off the bus one stop early.
Doctors recommend these tips if you're trying to quit smoking: 1. Focus on the reason you want to quit. 2. Ask a doctor for help quitting. 3. Get support from friends and family. 4. Relax! Stress makes quitting harder.
To work toward a better night’s sleep, try keeping a sleep diary to learn your patterns, and follow a strict sleep schedule, even during the weekend.
Doctors recommend turning off any digital screens at least one hour before bed. Then, do something relaxing like reading a book or listening to soothing music.
Whole grains can help reduce your risk of heart disease. Substitute whole grains into your diet with foods like whole-wheat bagels, wild rice and whole-wheat tortillas.
Sneak more fruits and veggies into your diet by having a fruit salad before dinner. Try fresh salsa with a few chips for a healthy snack or challenge yourself to try new fruits like jicama or papaya.
How healthy is your heart? Find out by taking the Heart Health Quiz here.
For informational purposes only. Please talk to your doctor about your individual situation. If you're having symptoms of a heart attack, call 911.
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