What Cardiac Care Options Are Available At Suburban Hospital
Suburban Hospital’s specialized center for cardiac care, anchored by the NIH Heart Center, brings the clinical and scientific excellence of two renowned medical institutions to a community-based cardiac program conveniently located in the heart of Bethesda. Through collaboration with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health and Johns Hopkins Medicine, Suburban Hospital can now provide patients easy access to advanced cardiovascular treatments available in very few medical centers.
The NIH Heart Center complements a broad range of existing cardiac programs at Suburban Hospital-from emergency/trauma care to state-of-the-art cardiac diagnostics and rehabilitation-which, over the years, have helped thousands of patients recover from heart disease.
Suburban Hospital has provided primary coronary intervention as therapy for acute myocardial infarction since 1996. Now, within the NIH Heart Center at Suburban Hospital, elective angioplasty is available. The hospital recently opened three new digital catheterization labs with a 12-bed patient holding area, both on the same floor as the 20-bed Coronary Care Unit.
To learn more about Suburban Hospital’s expert cardiac care program in the heart of Bethesda, call 301.896.3939, or click here.
Q If I Am On Medication To Treat Heart Disease Does That Mean I Am No Longer At Risk Of A Heart Attack
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Know Heart Attack Warning Signs
Your chance of living long after a heart attack increases dramatically if you know the heart attack warning signs. The sooner you recognize you may have a problem, the sooner you can begin to receive life-saving treatment. Immediate treatment also helps preserve the health of your heart, which helps to increase your lifespan.
Early major warning signs of a heart attack include:
- Chest pain or discomfort: You may feel pain or discomfort in the center or left side of your chest. This sensation may persist or may come and go. Many people describe the sensation as a feeling of fullness, squeezing, or pressure.
- Pain in your upper body: During a heart attack, you may feel pain in your arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
- Shortness of breath: Trouble breathing often accompanies chest pain or discomfort.
- Other symptoms: Many people experience more general symptoms during a heart attack, such as nausea, light-headedness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
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I Thought I Had The Flu
Even though heart disease is the No. 1 killer of women in the United States, women often chalk up the symptoms to less life-threatening conditions like acid reflux, the flu or normal aging.
They do this because they are scared and because they put their families first, Goldberg said. There are still many women who are shocked that they could be having a heart attack.
A heart attack strikes someone about every 43 seconds. It occurs when the blood flow that brings oxygen to the heart muscle is severely reduced or cut off completely. This happens because the arteries that supply the heart with blood can slowly narrow from a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances .
Many women think the signs of a heart attack are unmistakable the image of the elephant comes to mind but in fact they can be subtler and sometimes confusing.
You could feel so short of breath, as though you ran a marathon, but you havenât made a move, Goldberg said.
Some women experiencing a heart attack describe upper back pressure that feels like squeezing or a rope being tied around them, Goldberg said. Dizziness, lightheadedness or actually fainting are other symptoms to look for.
Many women I see take an aspirin if they think they are having a heart attack and never call 911, Goldberg said. But if they think about taking an aspirin for their heart attack, they should also call 911.
How Long Will I Need To Rest After My Heart Attack
Rest is important after a heart attack, but its just as important for you to participate in recreation and social events and to begin making physical activity a part of your daily life. In many cases doctors will recommend that survivors get more physical activity than they got before their heart attack. A good nights rest is especially important for heart attack patients. And if you feel tired during the day, take a nap or a short rest. Heart patients should rest before they get too tired. Your doctor will tell you whats best for your specific situation, but most heart attack patients find they have plenty of energy for both work and leisure activities.
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Why The First Hours Are Critical
For anyone having a heart attack, getting rapid medical attention is absolutely critical. Both the short-term and the long-term consequences of a heart attack are largely determined by how much of the heart muscle dies. With rapid and aggressive medical treatment, the blocked artery can usually be opened quickly, thus preserving most of the heart muscle.
If treatment is delivered within three or four hours, much of the permanent muscle damage can be avoided. But if treatment is delayed beyond five or six hours, the amount of heart muscle that can be saved drops off significantly. After about 12 hours, the damage is often irreversible.
Cardiac arrests can occur within the first few hours of a heart attack or during recovery. If a cardiac arrest occurs in the hospital, there is an excellent chance it can be treated. Unfortunately, the risk of sudden cardiac arrest is heightened after a heart attack, especially within the first year.
Can You Make A Full Recovery From A Heart Attack
Many people fully recover and live a long life after a heart attack. However, you should be aware of your risk. About 1 in 5 people age 45 or above have a second heart attack within five years. This means prevention efforts are crucial for lowering your risk and keeping you healthy for a long time to come.
Preventing another heart attack
After having a heart attack, its important to do whatever you can to prevent future damage to your heart. Your healthcare provider will give you advice tailored to you and your individual circumstances. Below are some general tips to help you keep your heart healthy.
Take your medications
If needed, your provider may also prescribe medications that help:
- Treat irregular heartbeats .
- Control angina .
- Treat heart failure.
Your healthcare provider will review your medications with you. Be sure to ask any questions you might have so you understand what youre taking, the possible side effects and why.
Take all of your medications as prescribed, even if you feel completely healthy. Your medications will help you continue feeling well. If you have any side effects, keep a journal of when they happen and tell your provider.
Finally, write a medications list that you carry with you at all times. The list should include:
- The names of your medications.
- What each one is for.
- How often to take each one, and at what times.
Make lifestyle changes
See your healthcare provider for regular heart checkups
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What Are The Warning Signs Of A Heart Attack
There are several different warning signs of a heart attack, and they are not always sudden or severe. Whether or not your chest pain symptoms include mild to severe pain, they should be considered heart-related until proven otherwise.
People having a heart attack may have just one of these symptoms, or a combination of several. They can come on suddenly or develop over a few minutes and get progressively worse. Symptoms usually last for at least 10 minutes.
Warning signs could include:
- discomfort or pain in the centre of your chest a heaviness, tightness or pressure, like something heavy sitting on your chest, or a belt tightening around your chest, or a bad case of indigestion
- discomfort in your arms, shoulder, neck, jaw or back
- other problems such as:
- feeling dizzy or light-headed
Heart attacks are more common in older people than in younger people, but they can occur in people of any age.
The pain you have may not sound like that described above, but its still important to see a doctor. Remember, all chest pain should be checked out by a doctor as soon as possible.
Sit Down And Stay Calm
Try to relax and remain calm while you wait for help to arrive.
If youre at home alone, open the front door and sit on the floor near the entrance.
This will help the paramedics easily find you in case you lose consciousness before the ambulance arrives, and give them a flat surface on which to begin CPR if necessary.
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What Causes A Heart Attack
For many New Zealanders, a heart attack happens out of the blue. But it is usually the result of 3 processes:
- the development over many years of fatty deposits on the walls of your arteries
- a clot forming on one of the plaques, resulting in a blockage of that artery
- the blockage stopping blood flow to a section of heart muscle and, sometimes, the electrical impulses your heart responds to also stop working properly.
Read more about the causes of heart attack.
What To Do When Youre Having A Heart Attack
- Chew one adult-strength aspirin to help keep your blood from clotting.
- Stay on the phone with the emergency operator as you wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself to the hospital.
If youre not sure its a heart attack, dont ignore your symptoms. Call for help anyway. If you are having a heart attack, the sooner you get to the hospital, the sooner your care team can work to restore blood flow and reduce further heart damage.
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When Do I Do If Someone Else Has A Heart Attack
An easy-to-use device called an AED is available in many public places and can be used by almost anyone to treat cardiac arrest. This device works by shocking the heart back into a normal rhythm.
HereÃ¢s how to use an AED:
1. Check responsiveness
- For an adult or older child, shout and shake the person to confirm whether theyÃ¢re unconscious. Do not use AED on a conscious person.
- For an infant or young child, pinch their skin. Never shake a young child.
- Check breathing and pulse. If absent or uneven, prepare to use the AED as soon as possible.
2. Prepare to use AED
- Make sure the person is in a dry area and away from puddles or water.
- Check for body piercings or outline of an implanted medical device, such as a pacemaker or implantable defibrillator.
- AED pads must be placed at least 1 inch away from piercings or implanted devices.
3. Use AED
For newborns, infants, and children up to age 8, use a pediatric AED, if possible. If not, use an adult AED.
- Turn on the AED.
- Plug in connector, if necessary.
- Make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the Ã¢AnalyzeÃ¢ button.
- If a shock is advised, check again to make sure no one is touching the person.
- Push the Ã¢ShockÃ¢ button.
- Start or resume continue compressions.
- Follow AED prompts.
4. Continue CPR
Common Causes Of Chest Pain
Most chest pain is not heart-related and isnt a sign of a life-threatening problem. Some common causes of chest pain are outlined below.
This information should give you an idea of whether these conditions may be causing your chest pain, but you should always seek medical advice to make sure you get a proper diagnosis.
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Q Does Your Body Warn You Before A Heart Attack
- Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, pain or discomfort in the chest.
- Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath.
- Cold sweat or lightheadedness.
Is A Cardiac Arrest The Same Thing As A Heart Attack
A cardiac arrest and a heart attack are both medical emergencies. However, they are not the same thing, and sometimes a heart attack can progress into a cardiac arrest.
During a cardiac arrest, the electrical system that controls your heart rate and rhythm stops working, and the heart stops beating.
When someone has a cardiac arrest, they experience different symptoms and receive different treatments to someone who has a heart attack.
Someone having a cardiac arrest will collapse and have no pulse. They may not breathe properly, or maybe not at all, and they will lose consciousness.
If someone has a cardiac arrest, they need help immediately. Call 000 for an ambulance. While waiting for the ambulance to arrive, begin chest compressions , or use a device called a defibrillator, if available. Once the person gets to hospital, a medical team will treat them.
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Heart Attack Warning Signs And Symptoms: Chest Head Jaw And Tooth Pain
Chest discomfort, manifest as pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest
Chest pain is the hallmark symptom of a heart attack, although it can take many different forms. In other cases, chest pain may not occur at all. The characteristic chest pain of a heart attack has been described as a sense of pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain that starts in the center of the chest. The pain or discomfort typically lasts more than a few minutes, or it may go away and then return. It can spread down the arms, to the back, or to the head and neck. Both women and men report chest pain as a primary symptom of heart attack, but women more often than men are likely to have some of the other symptoms, such as nausea, jaw pain, or shortness of breath, that are described below.
Jaw pain, toothache, headache
The pain of a heart attack can spread down both arms, to the jaw or head, or to the back. Some people report tooth pain or headache as a symptom of a heart attack. It is possible to have these types of pain without chest pain during a heart attack.
Shortness of breath
Feeling short of breath or like you are gasping for air is a common symptom of a heart attack. Shortness of breath, or difficulty breathing, is medically known as dyspnea. Shortness of breath may occur before or during the chest pain of a heart attack, and in some cases, it may be associated with other heart attack symptoms without any chest pain.
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What To Do If You Recognize A Heart Attack
If you think theres any chance you or someone else may be having a heart attack, you need to get medical help as quickly as possible. Even if it turns out to be something else, it is better to act quickly than risk putting your life on the line.
If you recognize the signs of a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. The sooner that treatment begins, the greater likelihood that you can minimize damage to the heart.
The person having the symptoms should not drive. Always have someone else drive you to the hospital if you are not being transported by ambulance.
If the person goes unconscious, you can start cardiopulmonary resuscitation while you wait for emergency medical services . If you are in a public place, ask if there is an AED on site. An AED is a portable device that can check someone’s heart rhythm and, if necessary, deliver an electric shock to help someone who is in cardiac arrest.
Find trainings in CPR and AED use through the American Red Cross, so you are prepared if you are ever in an emergency situation.
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About Half Of All Heart Attacks Are Mistaken For Less Serious Problems And Can Increase Your Risk Of Dying From Coronary Artery Disease
Image: goir/Getty Images
You can have a heart attack and not even know it. A silent heart attack, known as a silent myocardial infarction , account for 45% of heart attacks and strike men more than women.
They are described as “silent” because when they occur, their symptoms lack the intensity of a classic heart attack, such as extreme chest pain and pressure stabbing pain in the arm, neck, or jaw sudden shortness of breath sweating, and dizziness.
“SMI symptoms can feel so mild, and be so brief, they often get confused for regular discomfort or another less serious problem, and thus men ignore them,” says Dr. Jorge Plutzky, director of the vascular disease prevention program at Harvard-affiliated Brigham and Women’s Hospital.
For instance, men may feel fatigue or physical discomfort and chalk it up to overwork, poor sleep, or some general age-related ache or pain. Other typical symptoms like mild pain in the throat or chest can be confused with gastric reflux, indigestion, and heartburn.
Also, the location of pain is sometimes misunderstood. With SMI, you may feel discomfort in the center of the chest and not a sharp pain on the left side of the chest, which many people associate with a heart attack. “People can even feel completely normal during an SMI and afterward, too, which further adds to the chance of missing the warning signs,” says Dr. Plutzky.