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Health & Wellness

What should you do if you think you're having a heart attack?

If you've experienced a heart attack, time is of the essence — survival depends on how soon you're treated and every minute matters.

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After a heart attack, how much time does the patient have to get treated?

Play Video - 0:59

After a heart attack, how much time does the patient have to get treated?

Play Video - 0:59

More video

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), every year about 735,000 Americans have a heart attack. Early action is crucial: The faster you get treated after a heart attack, the better your chances for recovery.

RELATED: Heart disease is different in women and may be deadlier

You must get to the hospital within one hour after symptoms start. At the hospital, the doctors have less than 90 minutes to restore blood flow to the heart. The longer it takes until you get treated, the more heart muscle dies.

Major warning signs of a heart attack include chest pain or discomfort, upper body pain or discomfort in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or upper stomach, shortness of breath and nausea or cold sweats.

RELATED: What to do when someone is having a heart attack

To learn more, watch the above video with NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar.

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