Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Act in Time

Physiology lectures about the heart are great. I have spent so much time in cardiology, I am finding this block to be a breeze. I just want to take a moment and remind you about the warning signs of heart attacks and strokes. Even if you don't want to read this, glance over the bolded terms. Just in case you forgot one.

Some times heart attacks happen instantly with great pain, but lots of times, 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 from the AHA that can mean a heart attack is happening:
  • Chest discomfort or pain - occurs in the center of the chest. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, fullness or squeezing. It lasts a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort or pain in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  • Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.

Other signs may include:

  • breaking out in a cold sweat
  • nausea
  • lightheadedness

Women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

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

Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1. You can get treatment in an ambulance on the way to the hospital which will help save your heart or your brain. The sooner you get this treatment, the better your chances of a full recovery. If you wait a long time, then decide you need to go to the ER, drive yourself & sit in the waiting room, you could be causing unneccesary, irreversable damage.

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