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What you need to know about heart attacks

Upstate cardiologist Robert Carhart Jr., MDA sudden reduction in blood supply to the heart muscle, such as happens in a heart attack, can permanently damage heart tissue. Swiftly seeking emergency medical care at the first sign of trouble can help minimize the damage, says Upstate cardiologist Robert Carhart Jr., MD. The trick is to recognize the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. Some people feel a crushing chest pain, but that's not always present. Carhart recalls a male patient who felt mild pain only in his forearm, and a female patient who felt overwhelmingly tired. Shortness of breath is common, along with some degree of chest, back or shoulder pain. People who may be having a heart attack should call 911, Carhart says. At the hospital, a variety of tests helps determine whether a heart attack is happening and whether the blood supply to the heart muscle is completely or partially blocked. Carhart also discusses risk factors, treatment options and recovery.