In today’s health conscious environment, we are all concerned about our health. This concern can prompt us to watch what we eat, to develop an exercise plan, and to work closely with our family physician to maintain good health. In addition to living a healthy lifestyle, it is also important to be aware of how our body feels.
Feeling “out of sorts” is our body’s way of telling us something is wrong. In the case of a heart attack, being aware of the warning signs and reacting quickly can save your life.
Many people think a heart attack must be very painful. Often times, quite the opposite is true. The symptoms can be very subtle, especially in women. Because your chances of recovery greatly improve if you get help during the first hour of a heart attack, it is important to pay close attention to these symptoms.
Many victims of heart attacks experience a tightness or squeezing sensation in the chest. Doctors now recommend getting emergency help immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms for two minutes or more:
- Pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest
- Pain spreading to the shoulders, neck or arms
- Severe pain, sudden weakness, dizziness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath
- For those with angina, any change in the frequency, duration or intensity of the attacks, or symptoms that don’t respond to nitroglycerin.
SHOULD I OR SHOULDN’T I?
If you are experiencing symptoms of a heart attack and find yourself asking, “Should I go to the hospital?” don’t hesitate, just GO!
Many people are afraid of the embarrassment of going to the emergency room and finding nothing wrong. Emergency room doctors are used to false alarms. Only one in four of those who seek emergency medical treatment for heart attack symptoms are actually having a heart attack. While those are good odds, don’t take chances.
Remember, if it is a heart attack, getting help during the first hour is critical and can mean the difference between life and death.
If someone you know is having heart attack symptoms, get help, even if the victim doesn’t want you to. Understand that they are scared and reassure them it is best not to ignore the symptoms. While waiting for help to arrive, keep the person quiet and calm. Stay with them and do your best to keep them comfortable.
A good way to help a heart attack victim is to become familiar with the early warning signs. More importantly, learn CPR so that if there is ever a need, you will be able to give emergency help to a heart attack victim. You may end up saving the life of someone you love.
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