I dedicate this post to my friend Joel Sarley who passed away at the young age of 59.
At more than 1 million people per year, heart attacks/disease is the number one killer of Americans. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,“a heart attack happens when blood flow to the heart suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen. If not treated quickly, the heart muscle fails to pump and begins to die.” Recognizing the symptoms and seeking immediate treatment is critical for survival. Contrary to the Hollywood portrayal, a person does not typically clutch their chest and fall to the ground when having a heart attack. Most heart attacks start with subtle symptoms, and many women have heart attacks without the typical chest pain. A person may even brushoff the experience as either indigestion or anxiety. Symptoms can even come and go over several hours. Of those individuals who die from a heart attack, about half die within an hour of their first symptom. Here is a list of heart attack symptoms, but do not wait for all the symptoms to appear before seeking immediate medical attention:
• Chest pain or discomfort usually occurring in center or left side of the chest. The discomfort can be light or excruciating pain. Women are more likely to delay seeking help because they may not have the classic chest pain.
• Upper body pain that may spread to your teeth, jaw, neck, shoulders, back or arms.
• Stomach pain that may feel like heartburn.
• Shortness of breath which often occurs before developing chest discomfort. You may experience this symptom even while you are resting.
• Anxiety or you are experiencing a sense of doom.
• Lightheadedness or the feeling that you are about to faint.
• Nausea, vomiting or feeling sick to your stomach.
• Sweating suddenly. The skin becomes cold and clammy to the touch.
• Tired for no apparent reason which can last for days.
If you think someone around you is having a heart attack, then call 9-1-1 immediately. If they are able to chew, then most doctors recommend one 325 mg aspirin tablet to help lower the heart’s workload. Keep the individual calm and have them sit down to rest. If the person is unresponsive, then give CPR.
The 9-1-1 dispatcher will talk you through the CPR procedures until help arrives.
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Click here to learn about “4 Ways to Prevent Heart Attack”
For my next post, we will look at why heart attacks are a preventable disease.
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