Does Coughing Help Alleviate the Symptoms of a Heart Attack? 

Does coughing help with heart attacks? It is not recommended to cough to alleviate heart attack symptoms. Coughing to help with heart attack symptoms, also known as cough CPR, has been said to help heart attack symptoms allegedly by getting the heart back in rhythm. However, there are many variables in types and symptoms of heart attacks. While coughing may be useful in niche scenarios, one is better off using other methods to help with their oncoming heart attack.

Where Did the Myth of Coughing to Help With Heart Attacks Come From? 

Coughing to help with heart attacks is a myth that has been propagated for years now. Cough CPR (sometimes referred to as cough cardiopulmonary resuscitation) is usually described as a resuscitation technique in which coughing can delay or prevent cardiac arrest until help arrives. The American Heart Association and the American Red Cross do not recommend this technique. 

As for where the myth came from: In the intensive care units of hospitals, doctors may tell the patient to cough hard to terminate the rhythm when someone goes into a ventricular arrhythmia. This method has worked in some heart attack situations, however, doctors say that most heart rhythms are more complicated than typical coughing can correct. 

Cough CPR can even prove detrimental during the throes of a heart attack, as without a doctor’s direction, attempting to cough too much can cause the body to undergo more stress. Stress can worsen heart attack systems. It is best to avoid coughing to help alleviate the symptoms of a heart attack unless you are supervised in a hospital setting.

How Do You Survive a Heart Attack if You Are Alone?

Cough CPR can technically help relieve heart attack symptoms in some instances. However, many foundations and associations, such as the American Heart Association, recommend utilizing more proven methods.

Contact Emergency Services

To survive a heart attack alone, first call 911. Additionally, you might even consider contacting someone closeby, such as a neighbor, and have them with you while you wait for help. This is if you can, of course. If your symptoms are worse, there are other options you have after calling emergency services.

Take Aspirin

Chewing an Aspirin can help. Aspirin inhibits platelet development, which can delay the formation of clots that further block your arteries during a heart attack. Chewing the Aspirin will help the medicine release quickly within your stomach, which allows it to take effect more quickly

Lie Down

Lying down and trying to remain calm is perhaps the simplest way to help relieve heart attack symptoms. A heart attack can be terrifying, but it is essential to be as calm as possible. Laying down and raising your legs upwards can help open up your diaphragm. This will make it easier for you to breathe and supply oxygen to your blood. The best way to get oxygen to your blood is by taking slow, deep breaths. 

Again, cough CPR can make things worse for you during a heart attack. Attempting this treatment alone can cause you to work against your heart’s rhythm, making it harder for you to get oxygen into your blood. 

How to Stay Safe Regarding Heart Attacks When You Live Alone

While no one wants to think about having a heart attack while alone in their house, there are precautions you can take to stay safe and help yourself in the case of a heart attack. These precautions are essential for those at risk for heart attacks.

Having family or friends check up regularly, or even daily, means that they will notice potential symptoms that you might not notice. Symptoms can gradually build up over some minutes or hours, so it can present slowly without you realizing. Family or friends may also show up in the case that you have had a heart attack and are incapacitated, which can save your life.

Keeping Aspirin nearby is also a good idea if you’re at risk for heart attacks. As mentioned above, one method of alleviating symptoms of heart attacks is chewing on Aspirin, so having some on your coffee table or by your bedside is a good idea.

A personal alert system, such as Life Alert, is perhaps the best way to stay safe while living alone. Simply press the button, and emergency services will come to assist. You can also set some of these up to contact family as well, so do some research to see which option for a personal alert system works best for you.

Conclusion: Coughing Does Not Help Alleviate the Symptoms of a Heart Attack

If you notice symptoms of a heart attack coming on, the first thing you should do is call 911 immediately. Simply coughing will often not correct an irregular, chaotic rhythm and will not prevent one from going into cardiac arrest. Call emergency services, chew an Aspirin, lay down, and try to remain calm. Heart attacks are one of the most serious rapid onset medical conditions, so it’s best to let those trained to aid make decisions about the methods to help with your heart attack symptoms. 

Written By Haley H.

  1. Thanks again!

  2. This information helps a lot! The spread of misinformation on the internet is rampant, especially dealing with health and medicine. I’m glad this article was written!

    • So glad I could help!

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