From the Heart: February is Heart Month

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Do you know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and what to do if someone experiences these? Knowing, may make the difference between life and death. Recognizing and responding immediately to the warning signs of a potential heart attack may significantly improve survival and recovery. February is Heart Month: take the time to be heart safe and learn how you can reduce your risk.

Common Signs of a Heart Attack

(Any, or all, of these signs & symptoms may occur)

  • Chest discomfort described as simply a mild pressure up to a ‘crushing’ pain; may also be ‘squeezing’ or simply a ‘heavy’ sensation;
  • Discomfort may move to the shoulders, arm, neck, or jaw;
  • May include shortness of breath, sweating, or nausea / vomiting.
  • Signs may vary person to person and can differ between men and women, and the elderly.

Heart Attack Risk Factors

  • Obesity*
  • Sedentary lifestyle*
  • Smoking*
  • High cholesterol*
  • Age / gender
  • Family history

Speak with your doctor about how to treat your modifiable (*) risk factors and learn to be heart safe.

What to Do When Seconds Count

  • Call 9-1-1 immediately. Early treatment can greatly reduce heart damage and make the difference of life and death;
  • Treatment starts the moment EMS arrives. Paramedics can provide oxygen, start an intravenous and perform an electrocardiogram (ECG);
  • Paramedics can also administer important medication(s) in the early minutes of a heart attack to lessen heart damage;
  • During transport, EMS will share information with the hospital so that definitive treatment can begin immediately upon arrival;
  • Take a CPR / AED course. Training is widely available from many reputable organizations. It’s easy and could make a significant difference in the outcome of someone experiencing a heart attack.
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