By Ditch Doctor
The first step to prepare and protect your family from disaster is to first protect yourself. You can’t take care of your family and friends if you become a victim. Did you know that 2,150 Americans die each day from cardiovascular disease? You need to know the risk factors, symptoms, and treatment for a heart attack.
A heart attack usually occurs when a blood clot blocks the flow of blood through a coronary artery- a blood vessel that feeds blood and oxygen to a part of the heart muscle. Interrupted blood flow to your heart can damage or destroy a part of your heart muscle.
High blood pressure, obesity, lack of physical activity, high cholesterol, family history, tobacco use, diabetes, stress and age (men over 45 and women over 55 are at greater risk) are possible risk factors.
-Chest pain that can radiate to arm, back, shoulder, or jaw
-Shortness of breath
-Impending sense of doom
Not all people who have heart attacks experience the same symptoms and some people have no symptoms at all.
Women may not experience chest pain but instead experience abdominal pain, clammy skin, dizziness and fatigue.
If you are experiencing symptoms, you need to act immediately.
-Call 911 or your local emergency number
-If this is not possible, have someone drive you to the hospital
-Take aspirin if your doctor (ask in advance) or EMS recommends it
-STAY CALM and DO NOT DELAY
-When in doubt, call 911 and they can determine if you need to go to the hospital
Heart attacks can be fatal so the sooner you seek medical attention, the greater chance you have to survive.
Call your doctor today to get a “heart check-up” and know the symptoms and treatment for heart attacks.
Remember: The first step to protect your family is first protecting yourself.
Ditch Doctor is a Critical Care Flight Paramedic on an air medical helicopter and has practiced emergency medicine since 1974. For more information on the prevention and treatment of heart attacks visit the American Heart Association’s website.