Millions die of heart attacks every year
Each year, ≈1.1 million Americans experience a heart attack; ≈460 000 of them are fatal. Of those who die, almost half do so suddenly, before they can get to a hospital. Although a heart attack is a frightening event, if you learn the signs of a heart attack and what steps to take, you can save a life—perhaps even your own. -information taken from the American Heart Association.
Heart attacks are more common than you'd think
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What kind of problems or conditions can lead to a heart attack?
- cigarette smoking
- Family history of heart attacks or heart conditions
- Trauma (like a car accident, or serious injury)
- High blood pressure and cholesterol
- Physical inactivity (which a lot of people don't consider to be a cause)
- Drug use (mainly with amphetamines or speed, such as cocaine or meth)
What is happening?
What happens during a heart attack?
A blood clot or plaque is created in an artery, preventing blood from flowing through the way it should. Think of it as water flowing through a hose and being unable to do so. A kink in a hose so to speak, but these kinks are your blood vessels or arteries. This blockage causes the heart not to receive the blood it needs to live. When this happens, heart muscles begin to die.
How to recognize the warning signs of a heart attack?
Shortness of breath-sometimes with or without pains in the chest
Chest discomfort-this is most common and occurs in the center of the chest. Pain may last a few minutes, then go away, but it will come back. Most common descriptions are pressure or squeezing, pain, and fullness
Pain and discomfort in the upper half of the body-which may include, your neck, back, jaw, one or both arms and stomach pain
Other not so common signs-nausea, vomiting, becoming lightheaded, and having cold sweats
Cardiac arrest-victim will not respond when tapping on both shoulders
Fast or slow and what do to!
Most people think that heart attacks primarily occur in men, that is not true. Men and women are equally affected, and heart attacks usually are more common when you are over 50 years of age, but can occur in any age group. People also think that heart attacks come on suddenly without much warning, and that is true. But it's not just a matter of someone grabbing their chest in pain and keeling over dead. Some heart attacks do have a very quick onset. However, it's much more common for a heart attack to start off slowly. Most people are unaware of what is going on, and don't react in time when symptoms begin, because they don't realize what they actually are. This usually makes getting immediate medical care a lot harder, and delayed.
Even if you are unsure of your symptoms, it's best to have them checked out, and speak with your doctor if you believe you are at a higher or predisposed rick for a heart attack.
We are lucky to have 911 services for health and medical emergencies, and every second counts if you are having a heart attack. Don't waste time. Call 911 as soon as possible for yourself, or for someone you suspect is having a heart attack. It's better to be wrong, then dead.
Timing is everything. Getting proper treatment is imperative. Not only can you possibly save your life or the life of another by calling 911, but paramedics can use special equipment and medications to restart a heart onsite if needed, and can get you transported to a hospital quickly and provide medical care in transit. Not only that but hospitals can be alerted of your coming arrival and prepare for faster treatment.
If for any reason, you cannot call 911, ask someone to drive you to the nearest hospital immediately.
Blood pressure monitors
- Be familiar with the warning signs
- Have emergency numbers and lists of medications you are on in a place where someone can find it.
- If the heart attack is drug related, be honest with what recreational drugs you use and or abuse
- Talk to your doctor about any predisposed conditions that would lead to a heart attack, or what your personal heart attack risks may be
- Ask for a preventative plan, such as exercise, or taking Bayer, or a small dose of baby aspirin
- Make it a priority to have regular physicals and stress tests
- Consider buying a blood pressure monitor to keep in your home
- Consider getting Life Alert if you have an elderly loved one that lives alone and would benefit from Life Alert services.
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VIDYA D SAGAR on October 26, 2019:
Great Article, useful tips thanks for sharing
Rebecca (author) from USA on June 28, 2013:
Thanks for your comment! :)
Kenneth Claude from Ohio on June 28, 2013:
Thanks for the info. My father had a heart attack 4 years ago and is now living a different lifestyle to help prevent further ones Great article