The first 60 minutes after the onset of heart attack symptoms are crucial for survival, say medical experts – so greater awareness about the possible warning signs is vital.

“The most major and common symptoms of a heart attack are pain or discomfort in the chest", said Dr Debabrata Dash, consultant, interventional cardiology, Aster Hospital, Mankhool.

"In most cases, we see that patients experience pain or discomfort in the centre or on the left side of the chest that lasts for a few minutes. In some cases, the pain goes away and comes back, and this happens repeatedly.”

Additional signs of a heart attack include feelings of weakness, light-headedness, and excessive sweating, Dr Dash added. "Some may also experience pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, and back, and pain or discomfort in one or both arms or shoulders.”

He stressed the importance of people undergoing regular heart check-ups.

“For a healthy person, it is advised to get a heart check-up at least once in two years. This is the case for a person with no risk factors such as hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol, and so on.

People with risk factors, including lifestyle diseases and [a] family history, should consult a doctor and seek advice on [how often] to undergo screening.”

To ensure a healthy heart, Dr Dash advised maintaining a good lifestyle and staying physically fit.

“We should take responsibility for keeping ourselves safe from lifestyle diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, and cholesterol. These are the primary factors that increase our risks of cardiovascular diseases, so maintaining a healthy lifestyle along with having a balanced diet will help.

Exercising and [an] active physical life is another aspect. Excessive drinking and smoking are also other risk factors that we should get rid of."

World Heart Day is observed on September 29.

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