How To Manage Having a Heart Attack When You Are On Your Own.

Updated: Oct 11, 2021


The Heart of The Matter

According to the British Heart Foundation UK statistics, someone is taken to hospital with a heart attack every three minutes.


Many people will be on their own when they have a heart attack. It is vital to know how to help yourself if you are alone and think you’re having a heart attack.


More than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests (when the heart stops beating sufficiently) occur in the UK every year.


Angina is discomfort caused by heart muscle complaining due to a reduced blood supply as blood tries to force its way through a narrowed artery.


A heart attack is when the narrowed artery becomes blocked or ruptures and heart muscle begins to die because of the lack of blood supply.


A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops being able to function adequately because of a heart attack or some other medical or trauma problem. The person will stop breathing and become unconscious and it necessary to give CPR, use a defibrillator and call an ambulance to give them a chance of recovery.


If You Are Experiencing Discomfort in your Chest, along your Left Arm or Jaw and Feel Seriously Ill and you are on your own:


Don’t try and drive yourself to A&E – call 999.

Phone a friend or member of your family and ask them to come and be with you.

If you have been prescribed GTN medication, take it now. GTN or Glyceryl Trinitrate is a fast-acting nitrate which widens the coronary arteries to improve the oxygen supply to the heart muscle and this should reduce the pain from an angina attack. It comes as a spray or tablet. It is taken under the tongue and takes effect within two to three minutes. (It might give you a headache)


If the GTN spray or tablet hasn’t helped within 5 minutes and you have been prescribed a 300 mg tablet of Aspirin – take it now.


Aspirin works by slowing the blood’s ability to clot, so during a heart attack, it stabilizes any blood clots that might have formed and reduces the likelihood of further ones forming.


Crush or chew the aspirin to get it into your blood stream faster. Only take a 300mg Aspirin if you have been prescribed it.