Be Prepared For A Heart Attack
What does a heart attack feel like? For women , its not the crushing, chest-grabbing pain you often see in the movies. While women may experience debilitating pain, its more likely youll feel an uncomfortable chest pressure or squeezing, shortness of breath, something like heartburn, or even mild symptoms like fatigue or lightheadedness.
But even before symptoms strike, you can prepare by knowing which hospitals in your area have 24-hour emergency cardiac care. Also, keep a list of emergency phone numbers next to your phone and with you at all times, as well as a list of your medications.
The Heart Of The Matter
According to the British Heart Foundation UK statistics, someone is taken to hospital with a heart attack every three minutes.
Many people will be on their own when they have a heart attack. It is vital to know how to help yourself if you are alone and think youre having a heart attack.
More than 30,000 out of hospital cardiac arrests occur in the UK every year.
Angina is discomfort caused by heart muscle complaining due to a reduced blood supply as blood tries to force its way through a narrowed artery.
A heart attack is when the narrowed artery becomes blocked or ruptures and heart muscle begins to die because of the lack of blood supply.
A cardiac arrest occurs when the heart stops being able to function adequately because of a heart attack or some other medical or trauma problem. The person will stop breathing and become unconscious. It necessary to give CPR, use a defibrillator and call an ambulance to give them a chance of recovery.
Research And Statistics: How Many People Have Heart Attacks
Someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
According to the CDC, 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent, meaning that the person isnt aware of it and doesnt seek immediate medical attention.
About 805,000 people in the United States have a heart attack each year, the CDC estimates. Out of these, about 605,000 are the persons first heart attack, while 200,000 are in people who have previously had one.
The average age for a first heart attack is 65.6 for men and 72.0 for women, according to the American Heart Association.
Fewer than 10 percent of heart attacks are fatal, according to Harvard Medical School. This rate has dropped in recent decades, likely due to wider use of treatments in the early stages of a heart attack.
Still, the broader category of heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, accounting for 647,000 deaths each year, or 1 in 4 deaths.
The burden of heart disease also varies widely across U.S. states and territories. The rate of death from cardiovascular disease is nearly twice as high in Mississippi, which has the highest rate, compared with Puerto Rico, which has the lowest rate. Alabama, Oklahoma, Arkansas, and Louisiana have the next highest rates of death from cardiovascular disease, while Minnesota, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Hawaii have the next lowest.
When Should I See My Doctor
If calling triple zero does not work on your mobile, try calling 112. Early treatment could save a life.
See your doctor regularly to manage your general health, test for heart disease risk factors and help you take steps to prevent a heart attack.
Put Time On Your Side
Acting quickly can save lives. If given quickly after symptoms, clot-busting and artery-opening medications can stop a heart attack, and having a catheterization with a stent put in may open a closed blood vessel. The longer you wait for treatment, the more chances of survival go down and damage to the heart goes up.
About half of those who die from heart attacks do so within the first hour after symptoms begin.
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Preventing A Heart Attack
There are 5 main steps you can take to reduce your risk of having a heart attack :
- smokers should quit smoking
- lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
- do regular exercise adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week, unless advised otherwise by the doctor in charge of your care
- eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
- moderate your alcohol consumption
Living With A Heart Attack
After youve had a heart attack, you are at higher risk of having another one. Your doctor will likely recommend heart-healthy lifestyle changes to help reduce your risk. They include:
- Maintaining a heart-healthy diet.
- Being physically active.
- Quitting smoking.
Symptoms during a second heart attack may be different than the first one. If you have any new symptoms of heart attack or are in any doubt, call 911. Early treatment is the key to surviving a heart attack.
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Causes And Risk Factors Of Heart Attacks
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary artery disease , in which your arteries become narrowed and hardened due to the buildup of a fatty substance called plaque.
Plaque is a combination of fat, cholesterol, and other substances that can build up in the inner lining of your artery walls.
This buildup is known as atherosclerosis, or “hardening of the arteries.”
Blood flow to your heart can become completely cut off or severely reduced when a blood clot gets lodged in any artery that has been previously narrowed by a buildup of plaque.
Less commonly, heart attacks may be caused by a spasm, or tightening, of a coronary artery. Spasms may be related to smoking, high blood pressure, alcohol withdrawal, recreational stimulant drugs, or exposure to extreme cold or stress.
There are three common risk factors for heart disease that can put you at greater risk for a heart attack:
- High blood pressure
What To Do In Case Of Heart Attack
Every day, people all around the world experience heart attacks, and unfortunately, 50% of them have a deadly outcome. Taking care of your body and your mind should lower the chances of a heart attack. This is a serious topic that is often overlooked, but it should not be taken lightly.
By knowing the signs of a heart attack, you could react in a timely manner and help somebody, even save their lives. The most common signs are recognized in feeling or being sick, looking grey and pale, pain in your arms, jaw, neck, back, and abdomen, feeling sweaty and clammy, feeling dizzy, breathlessness, wheezing or coughing, generally feeling unwell, restless or panicky, and feeling your heartbeat rate speeding up.
Img source: blog.cedars-sinai.edu
Dont ignore this life-threatening emergency and try to keep a cool composure to be able to handle the situation. An instant reaction can be crucial for the heart attack. Such a treacherous disease can surprise anyone if we dont pay proper attention, especially the people who have diabetes. While heart attack generally seldom affects young people, it often doesnt depend on age and it can still strike when you are not hoping. If it happens we should be at least prepared and have the necessary knowledge on how to deal with it, right? We have prepared a few tips for you to have in the back of your mind if ever you are in this situation.
Img source: medicalnewstoday.com
Women Have Heart Attacks Too
We know that women tend to wait longer before calling 999 after experiencing heart attack symptoms. In the UK, an average of three women die of coronary heart disease every hour, many of them due to a heart attack.You dramatically reduce your chance of survival if you don’t call 999 straight away.
Most heart attacks are caused by coronary heart disease .
CHD causes your coronary arteries to become narrowed by a gradual build-up of fatty deposits called atheroma.
If a piece of atheroma breaks off, a blood clot forms around this to try and repair the damage to the artery wall.
This clot can block your coronary artery either a partial blockage or total blockage . This causes your heart muscle to be starved of blood and oxygen.
Other less common causes of a heart attack include:
- hypoxia .
Symptoms Of Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Sudden cardiac arrest is when the heart stops and person falls unconscious.
The person may:
- appear not to be breathing
- not be moving
- not respond to any stimulation, like being touched or spoken to
This is a leading cause of premature death, but with immediate treatment, many lives can be saved. The heart stops because the electrical rhythm that controls the heart is replaced by a disorganised electrical rhythm. The quicker this can be treated, the greater the chance of successful resuscitation.
Read more on cardiac arrest from the British Heart Foundation
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Heart With Muscle Damage And A Blocked Artery
A less common cause of heart attack is a severe spasm of a coronary artery. The spasm cuts off blood flow through the artery. Spasms can occur in coronary arteries that aren’t affected by atherosclerosis.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart can’t pump enough blood to meet the body’s needs. Arrhythmias are irregular heartbeats. Ventricular fibrillation is a life-threatening arrhythmia that can cause death if not treated right away.
Heart Attack Symptoms In Men Vs Women
While heart attack symptoms can vary widely, there are some general differences between what men and women typically experience.
Women are somewhat more likely to experience vague or unusual symptoms, such as fatigue, sleep disturbances, anxiety, shortness of breath, or pain in their arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach without chest discomfort.
Women may also experience indigestion or a sense or pressure or discomfort in their chest, rather than pain.
Its especially important for women to look out for potential signs of a heart attack that might not fall under classic symptoms, and to seek immediate medical treatment immediately if concerned.
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What Are The Risk Factors For Heart Attack
Several health conditions, your lifestyle, and your age and family history can increase your risk for heart disease and heart attack. These are called risk factors. About half of all Americans have at least one of the three key risk factors for heart disease: high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking.2
Some risk factors cannot be controlled, such as your age or family history. But you can take steps to lower your risk by changing the factors you can control.
Learn more about risk factors for heart disease and heart attack.
How To Stop A Heart Attack
Many people worry about experiencing a heart attack in their lifetime, and with good reason: its estimated that an American has a heart attack every 40 seconds .
Even though a heart attack can be deadly, tens of thousands of Americans survive heart attacks every year.
Acting quickly when you suspect a heart attack is coming on can greatly improve your chances for survival.
Most of the time, heart attacks start slowly with just mild discomfort and pain, giving warning signs before they strike. If you experience any of the following symptoms, call 911 or ask someone to call 911 immediately.
These could be signs of a heart attack:
- Discomfort in the chest, especially the center, that lasts more than a few minutes or comes and goes. The discomfort may feel like heaviness, fullness, squeezing, or pain.
- Discomfort in the upper body parts such as the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. This may feel like pain or general discomfort.
- Shortness of breath. This may come with or without chest discomfort.
- Unusual sensations such as a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting, lightheadedness, or dizziness. Women are more likely than men to experience these kinds of symptoms.
Learn First Aid For Someone Who May Be Having A Heart Attack
1. The person may have persistent, vice-like chest pain, which may spread to their arms, neck, jaw, back or stomach.
This pain happens because a blockage stops blood getting to the heart muscle. The pain will not ease with rest.
2. Call 999 as soon as possible.
If you cant call 999, get someone else to do it. The person needs medical help as soon as possible. A heart attack can be very serious and needs immediate attention.
3. Help the person to sit down.
Ensure they are comfortable for example, sitting on the floor and leaning against a chair or a wall. Sitting will ease the strain on the heart. Sitting them on the floor also means they are less likely to hurt themselves if they collapse.
4. Reassure them while you wait for the ambulance.
Duration Of A Heart Attack
If you experience symptoms that may indicate a heart attack for longer than five minutes, its important to seek emergency medical attention immediately.
Dont delay treatment by waiting to see if your symptoms go away. Even if your symptoms let up or change, there may be ongoing damage to your heart.
If treatment begins within an hour of the onset of symptoms, a heart attack is less likely to cause significant or long-lasting damage to your heart muscle.
Unfortunately, many people delay treatment for a heart attack by several hours, increasing the risk of long-term disability or death.
Depending on your treatment needs, you may need to be hospitalized for a heart attack for several days or longer.
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How Is Heart Attack Diagnosed
You may need several tests to determine the cause of your symptoms.
- Electrocardiogram. This test records the electrical activity of your heart. It can help diagnose heart rhythm problems. It can also find damage from a decrease in blood flow.
- Blood tests.When blood flow decreases, special proteins leak into the blood system. A blood test can detect these proteins. Your doctor will want to test your blood several times during the first 24 to 48 hours after yours symptoms start.
Other tests your doctor may want you to have include:
- Echocardiogram. This test uses sound waves to create pictures of your heart. The pictures show how well your heart is pumping. It can show if there are problems with your heart valves.
- Chest X-ray.This looks at the size and shape of your heart. It can show if there is any fluid in your lungs.
- Nuclear imaging.This test injects a tiny radioactive substance into your blood. This substance travels to your heart to create pictures of it. It shows how well your heart is pumping. The radioactive substance is safe and leaves your body after the test is finished.
- Coronary angiography. This test is sometimes called cardiac catheterization. It involves inserting a long tube into a blood vessel. The tube is guided to the heart or arteries that carry blood to the heart. A substance is injected into the tube that makes it visible by X-ray. It allows your doctor to see where the blockage that caused the decrease in blood flow to your heart is located.
What Should I Do In A Heart Attack Emergency
The first thing to do is phone 999 immediately for an ambulance.
You should then sit and rest while you wait for the ambulance to arrive.
Aspirin can sometimes help, but dont get up and look around for an aspirin, as this may put unnecessary strain on your heart.
If youre not allergic to aspirin and have some next to you – or if there is someone with you who can fetch them for you – chew one adult aspirin tablet . If the aspirin isnt nearby, however, anyone with you should stay with you and not go looking for aspirin.
It’s Easy To Get The Care You Need
See a Premier Physician Network provider near you.
It could be the most important 60 seconds of your life, so now is the time to prepare yourself.
Seriously, to survive a heart attack, you need to know the signs and how to respond, well before it ever happens. You cant afford to wait. Not even for a minute.
A heart attack occurs when a coronary artery is blocked and blood cant reach the heart. When this happens, the heart muscle will begin to die. This can permanently damage your heart, and result in death.
Familiarize yourself with the symptoms of heart attack now, while youre healthy, and know what action to take before a heart attack ever strikes. The faster you get to a hospital, the greater your chances of restoring blood flow to the heart, saving heart muscle and your life.
Immediate First Aid Works To Minimize Blood Clotting Triggered By Plaque Ruptures
How should you take aspirin for a heart attack? You’ve always been healthy, but you seemed to run out of steam at your wife’s 60th birthday dinner last week. And now your chest feels heavy, as if you’re in a vise. You take some antacids, even though it’s 7:00 a.m. and you haven’t even had breakfast. But you get no relief, and the pain is spreading to your jaw and shoulder. You call your wife, who takes one look at you and rushes to the phone. After calling 911, she brings you an aspirin and some water.
Your wife got it right: You may be having a heart attack, and you need to get to the hospital fast. You also need to get some aspirin into your system quickly but should you chew the tablet or swallow it?
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