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A study tracking sudden cardiac arrests in Portland, Oregon, showed researchers that some people ignore the early warning signs that could have saved their lives.

The Associated Press reported that the study, which looked at cardiac arrests over the span of a decade, showed that some of the middle-aged patients had experience warning signs, including chest pain and shortness of breath, in the month before suffering a heart attack.

Boiling Springs Family Medicine physician Dr. Chad Jumper talked about the importance of taking those warning signs seriously and what may happen if you don’t.

Q: What are the signs of a heart attack?

A: “Signs of a heart attack can include chest pain that can move to the neck, jaw, shoulders, arms or back, shortness of breath, sweating, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue and dizziness.”

Q: Do the signs differ between men and women?

A: “Women can present with different symptoms when compared to men. Rather than the typical chest pain, women may suffer only abdominal pain, sweating or fatigue.”

Q: Why do some people ignore the signs?

A: “Patients may mistake the signs for other problems, such as heartburn, muscle pain or the flu.”

Q: What can happen if someone ignores the signs of a heart attack?

A: “When ignored, heart attacks can cause permanent damage to the heart and even be fatal.”

Q: What can be done early when you notice the signs?

A: “The most important thing people should do is seek medical attention. Calling 911 or getting to an emergency room as quickly as possibly can be crucial. Crushing or chewing an aspirin and swallowing it when the symptoms start may be helpful.”

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