The US has seen itRecord high temperaturerecent weeks. ExtremeHeat can worsen chronic diseases, including heart problems, so it is important to know what to do if someone has a heart attack.
There are steps you can take to increase your chances of survival and potentially save a life if the unthinkable happens. Learn how to survive a heart attack or help someone having one.
You can find more tips about your health hereHow to check your heart values at homeand CNET's recommendations forbest heart rate monitor. You will also want to learn about one of the most important factors for your health:your blood type.
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Common symptoms of a heart attack
When you think of a "heart attack," classic symptoms such as chest discomfort may come to mind first. However, heart attacks can develop differently in men and women and in people with certain diseases, such as diabetes.
Symptoms of a heart attack may include:
- Chest discomfort, pain or pressure radiating to the jaw, back and/or left shoulder
- Indigestion or nausea
- Extreme fatigue
- shortness of breath
- Malaysian Common
"Basically everything from the navel down," says Dr. Khadijah Breathett, heart failure transplant cardiologist and associate professor of medicine at Indiana University. “Constant pressure should raise concerns for you to see your doctor, and it's okay if it's something else. We'd rather someone go to the doctor and get checked than have them go through it at home because that increases the increased risk of death."
1. Call 911 no matter what
If you experience any of the above symptoms, even if you're not sure if it's a heart attack, call 911 immediately, doctors recommend.
"If you feel unwell or experience chest pain, see a doctor quickly, because the sooner you get treated, the better," says Dr. Grant Reed, an interventional cardiologist and director of the Cleveland Clinic's STEMI program. "Many patients ignore their symptoms, and by the time they show up, their heart muscle is already dead."
The most important indicator of how well you'll feel after a heart attack is how quickly you recognize your symptoms, Reed adds. There is a strong correlation between when you have a heart attack (which is usually when symptoms begin) and how quickly doctors can open the blocked coronary artery causing the heart attack - the shorter the time, the fasterbetter results, not only in terms of survival, but also in terms of the likelihood of heart failure or hospital readmission.
When you arrive at the hospital, healthcare professionals will likely perform an electrocardiogram (EKG or EKG), which can help diagnose a heart attack. If it is a heart attack, you will be taken to the cardiac catheterization laboratory, where a coronary angiogram will be performed. If your coronary artery is blocked, doctors offer treatment with a balloon and stent to keep the artery open.
Many people are hesitant to seek emergency medical care because of lack of insurance or immigration status. But in the United States, hospitals are required to treat all people who arrive with life-threatening emergencies.
"It's much better to be treated and then deal with the financial consequences," says Reed. In most cases, the costs can be negotiated with the hospital, he adds.
2. Ask for an ambulance to take you to the hospital
If you suspect you are having a heart attack, call an ambulance instead of driving yourself to the hospital. You can lose consciousness along the way and injure yourself or others, says Dr. Joel Beachey, a cardiologist at the Mayo Clinic Health System in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. The same is true if you are being driven by a loved one: if your symptoms worsen, they will not be able to help you while driving and may become distracted.
Paramedics can give you the best and fastest care on the way to the hospital, including an assessment and treatment, says Beachey.
If you're with someone who has heart attack symptoms and becomes unconscious, call 911 first and then get CPR, Breathett says. (You can find free CPR training at your locationAmerican Heart Associationbranch and many other places.)
3. Take aspirin if you have it
If you have heart attack symptoms and have access to aspirin, take a full dose of 325 mg after calling 911, says Beachey. (If you have baby aspirin, which comes in 81 mg doses, take four.) He recommends chewing it instead of swallowing it, so it gets into your body faster.
The reason? When you have a heart attack, plaque in your arteries becomes unstable and ruptures, creating a blood clot that can cut off the supply to that artery. Taking an aspirin can help dissolve some of this clot.
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4. Stand up for yourself
While in an ideal world healthcare providers would take patients' concerns about heart attack symptoms seriously, studies show that women and people of color are less likely to receive appropriate treatment for heart attacks and heart disease. For example, older black women who went to the hospital with symptoms of a heart attack or coronary artery disease were 50% less likely to receive treatment than white women, even after accounting for education, income, insurance status, and other heart conditions such as . diabetes. etc. Hypertension, aStudy 2019found it.
"Throughout most of our history in America, it's been very clear that women and people of color are not being heard," Breathett says. "Their symptoms disappear and the outcomes are worse. As a health care system, we have a lot more work to do to transform that system so that everyone, regardless of demographic group, can receive equal care."
Until then, patients must be their own advocates and stand up for themselves, she adds. And if they are not listened to, they have the right to seek help elsewhere.
A tip recommended by a TikTok resident: If you feel like a doctor isn't taking your symptoms seriously, whether they're heart health-related or otherwise, you can ask the doctor, "What's your differential diagnosis?"
@dor_the_graytPOCs are generally ignored. Ask questions, take notes, document the events. If you are alone, call a relative/friend.#patientadvokat #racismemedicin #maternalmortality #bipoc #blackwomen #leernontiktok ♬ original sound - Dorender Dankwa
A differential diagnosis consists of the various diseases that may be contributing to your symptoms. Basically, the doctor is asked to explain why they ruled out a heart attack and what else it could be. "It might help someone realize that I didn't test effectively to make sure it wasn't heart disease," Breathett says.
You can also bring a family member or friend to help you ask questions. If possible, write down your questions in advance so you can answer them during your short visit. And call back if you have unanswered questions. If you are unhappy or feel you are not being heard, find another care team.
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5. Work with prevention
You've heard it a million times, but that's because it's true: itbest way to prevent heart attacksmeans eating healthy, exercising 120 to 150 minutes a week at a moderate pace, keeping cholesterol and blood pressure under control and not smoking.
Heart attacks can occur in people of any age, race or gender. You should see your doctor regularly to assess your risk and make lifestyle changes that can help with prevention. Some people may also benefit from taking a baby aspirin daily as a preventative measure, but you should talk to your carer about this.
Exercise is important even if you have a history of heart problems, says Beachey.
Knowing what to do to prevent and respond to a heart attack is just one of the many important aspects of your health that you need to know. Read on to find outBest workout to strengthen your heart,the difference between the types of cholesterolIhow your diet affects your health. Plus, if you're looking for new ways to check your stats, check out CNET's recommended listFitness-trackerIblood pressure monitors.
The information in this article is for educational and informational purposes only and does not constitute health or medical advice. Always consult a physician or other qualified healthcare professional if you have any questions about a medical condition or health goals.