This brief article will provide information and links to where additional information can be found to help you recognize and hopefully prevent a heart attack or stroke.
According to cardiologists, most heart attacks occur in the day, generally between 6 a.m. and noon. If you take an aspirin or a baby aspirin once a day, take it at night. Aspirin has a 24-hour “half-life” therefore, the aspirin would be strongest in your system when most heart attacks happen, in the wee hours of the morning.
How to recognize heart attack symptoms
Chest discomfort that feels like pressure, or seems like a squeezing pain in the center of your chest. This pain generally lasts for more than a few minutes, but sometimes goes away and returns.
Pain and/or discomfort that extends beyond your chest to other parts of your upper body, such as one or both arms, back, neck, stomach, teeth, and even your jaw; shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort. Other symptoms include: cold sweats, nausea or vomiting, lightheadedness, indigestion, and fatigue.
What should I do when heart attack symptoms occur
If you or someone you are with experiences chest discomfort or other heart attack symptoms the first thing you should do is call 9-1-1.
Don’t wait to make the call. Don’t drive yourself to the hospital. Don’t drive the person having a heart attack to the hospital. Immediate treatment lessens heart damage and can save your life. Emergency medical services personnel can begin treatment in the ambulance on the way to the hospital and are trained to revive a person if his/her heart stops. Some people delay treatment because they are not sure they are really having a heart attack. Remember call 911 immediately as treatment given within an hour of the first heart attack symptoms saves lives and damage to the heart and substantially increases the chances of survival.
What should I do before paramedics arrive
If 911 has been called:
1. Try to keep the person calm, and have them sit or lie down.
2. If the person isn’t allergic to aspirin, have them chew and swallow an aspirin (It works faster when chewed than swallowed whole.)
3. If the person stops breathing, you or someone else who is qualified should perform CPR immediately. If you don’t know CPR, the 9-1-1 operator can assist you until the EMS personnel arrive.
For more information, check out the heart disease section on Mayo Clinic’s site and the warning signs of heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest, compiled by the American Heart Association.
The information contained in this article should not be substituted for the advice of your physician. If you experience any symptoms or are concerned about your health in any way, you should immediately seek the advice of your physician.
- Should I take aspirin to help prevent a heart attack or stroke? (news.consumerreports.org)
- The Difference Between Sudden Cardiac Arrest and Heart Attacks (maryomedical.com)
- Warning Signs of a Heart Attack (dallascardiologycenter.wordpress.com)
- 5 Interesting Facts About Aspirin (livescience.com)