Essential Information About Heart Attacks



Essential Information About Heart Attacks
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Essential Information About Heart Attacks
A heart attack is like a fire. It can strike at any time, even if you live a healthy lifestyle.
Contrary to popular belief, people with total cholesterol levels below 200 are not
immune from heart attacks. The risk for women is as significant as it is for men. In
fact, women are even less likely than men to seek the treatment they need,
characteristically waiting four hours longer than men to get help – because they don’t
think it can happen to them.
It is now even more important to respond quickly to a heart attack. All hospitals now
have new clot-busting drugs that can actually stop many heart attacks – and prevent
virtually any damage to your heart muscle! It is almost as if you never even had a heart
attack. Delivered on time, these drugs not only save lives, but preserve the quality
of life as well. They could mean the difference between driving your own car versus
being driven, or playing tennis versus watching others play.
The key is quick delivery – within the first three hours following a heart attack. Here
are ways to ensure that you get to the hospital on time:
Make sure you know the signs of a heart attack:
► Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of your chest
that lasts two minutes or longer
► Pain spreading to your shoulders, neck or arms
► Severe dizziness, fainting, sweating or nausea
► Shortness of breath – particularly true for people over age 70
Don’t delay, don’t deny. Seek help at the very first signs of a heart attack. Don’t let
shame or embarrassment become the death of you. Your family can be crucial in
helping you to overcome any unconscious denial, so make sure they also know the
warning signs.
Call 911 immediately. According to the American Heart
Association, half of all heart attack victims wait more than two
hours from the time they first notice symptoms to the time they
arrive at an emergency room. That delay can be deadly. It is
estimated that 150,000 lives could be saved every year if only
everyone would dial 911 at the first signs of a heart attack.
Do not have someone drive you – and definitely do not
drive yourself! An ambulance will get you there much faster, and the paramedics can
start a medical workup on you immediately, thus avoiding delays in the emergency
Take an aspirin. If you take one regular aspirin tablet even before going to the
hospital, your chances of heart damage are greatly reduced. Aspirin begins to act on
the blood clot that may be forming in the artery and causing the heart attack. Chew it
so that it enters the bloodstream more quickly. New research by Charles H.
Hennekens, M.D., Dr.P.H. confirms the power of aspirin. He found that a single dose
of aspirin could reduce the number of deaths by 23 percent in people hospitalized with
acute heart attack. He estimates that 10,000 lives per year could be saved if heart
patients took one aspirin immediately after a heart attack and then every day for a
Call your doctor, or have your spouse do it. After you have called 911 and taken
an aspirin, then call your doctor. First get into the system. Once that’s done, your
doctor can be an effective advocate for you in the emergency room, ensuring that you
receive the best possible medical treatment.

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