Mended Hearts is committed to help educate their members and the general public about heart disease.
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Some heart attacks are sudden and intense -- the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This feeling often comes along with chest discomfort. But it can occur before the chest discomfort.
- Other signs: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
If you or someone you're with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than a few minutes (no more than 5) before calling for help. Call 9-1-1... Get to a hospital right away.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when they arrive -- up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. The staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. You'll also get treated faster in the hospital if you come by ambulance.
If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you're the one having symptoms, don't drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other option.
Contact the American Heart Association for more information.
The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of stroke:
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding ·
- Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
- Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
- Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning.
Here are the signs:
- Sudden loss of responsiveness. No response to gentle shaking.
- No normal breathing. The victim does not take a normal breath when you check for several seconds.
- No signs of circulation. No movement or coughing.
If cardiac arrest occurs, call 9-1-1 and begin CPR immediately. If an automated external defibrillator (AED) is available and someone trained to use it is nearby, involve them.
Women and Heart Disease
Cardiovascular disease, including stroke, claims more women’s lives than the next seven causes of death combined — nearly 500,000 a year, nearly twice as many as all forms of cancer.
You can do a lot to prevent cardiovascular disease and stroke. It begins by learning all you can about these serious health threats and working to reduce your risks. More research needs to be done on heart disease and stroke in women, but we already can share a lot of life-enhancing information. Educate yourself and your family. Then do something about it.
There is a Speakers Kit available from the AHA titled "Let's Talk - From the Heart". This is an excellent Microsoft® PowerPoint® presentation on why women should 'take charge of their health'.
Please Note: Mended Hearts members can go to the "Members Only" section to directly access the presentation.