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What to Do If You Think You Might Be Having a Heart Attack
- If you have heart disease, you should be prepared for a heart attack. Every minute counts during a heart attack
- Symptoms of a heart attack include: angina, dizziness, cold sweat or nausea
- Take quick action. First, you must call 9-1-1. Then, you should consider taking an aspirin or nitroglycerin, if you have it
- If you or someone in your family is at risk for coronary artery disease, it’s a good idea to be CPR certified
- After the immediate danger has passed, you may need to work to open clogged arteries or bypass surgery to help improve poor circulation
A heart attack is a serious medical emergency that requires immediate attention. Time is critical because mere minutes can determine the outcome of a heart attack situation. To be prepared, you should know the symptoms of a heart attack and what steps to follow if you experience them.
Symptoms of a Heart Attack
The Mayo Clinic’s first aid guide includes several symptoms you should watch for if you are at risk of having a heart attack. If you’ve been suffering from recurring bouts of angina (chest pain) over the last few weeks, that could be a sign of an oncoming heart attack, but so could a sudden squeezing sensation in your chest. While knowing these symptoms is important, it is more important that you seek medical help immediately if you suspect you are having a heart attack.
Besides pressure in your chest, which traditionally lasts more than 15 minutes, you may also experience pain that spreads beyond your chest. You may feel pain in your neck, shoulders, jaw, teeth, or even your arms. You may feel short of breath, dizzy, and lightheaded. Other symptoms could include breaking a cold sweat or nausea.
Take Quick Action
Both the Mayo Clinic and the American Heart Association recommend similar steps when you are experiencing the symptoms of a potential heart attack. First, you must call 9-1-1. Do not try to drive yourself to the emergency room or wait for a chance to see your doctor. You may not have time. If you experience chest pain for more than five minutes, seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If ambulance costs are a concern, ask a friend or a relative that lives nearby to drive you to the hospital.
While you wait for medical help, consider chewing and swallowing an aspirin. This step can help save your life in this situation. If you have prescribed nitroglycerin, you should take that instead. Only take your own prescription, however. Never take medication prescribed for someone else.
Even if you have called an ambulance, contact someone who is nearby to be with you. He or she may be able to perform CPR if necessary. In fact, if you or anyone in your family has been diagnosed with, or is at high risk for coronary heart disease, it’s a good idea to complete CPR training in the event of an emergency situation like this.
Once Help Arrives
As soon as the paramedics arrive or you reach the emergency room, treatment will begin. Heart attacks can be diagnosed through the use of an EKG (electrocardiogram), cardiac enzyme tests, or echocardiography, according to WebMD.com. The diagnosis will be made quickly so that treatment can begin. The first line of treatment will probably be medication to prevent clotting and to thin the blood so oxygen can start reaching the heart and other parts of the body again.
After the immediate danger has passed, you will go through cardiac catheterization to determine the location of the blockage and the extent of the heart damage. You may need to have stents put in to widen the arteries, medications to break up blocked areas, or bypass surgery to create new paths so that blood and oxygen can reach the heart.
You can take preventative steps to avoid a heart attack. These include eating a healthy diet, exercising and supplementing your diet naturally. Some supplements to include for heart health are Co Q10 200 Sublingualand Co Q10 200 Sublingual.
The information supplied in this article is not to be considered as medical advice and is for educational purposes only.
|Heart Health Care3 Nov 2008|