Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Winter heart attack danger

Winter is here in North America and for much of us – lots of snow. It’s a good time to remind people about not over exerting and heart attack prevention.

The main problem is that many who don’t exercise all year long, put a lot of effort and exercise into shoveling and end up having a heart attack. There are a few medical emergencies that time is of absolute essence – if you think you or someone else is having a heart attack – don’t wait. It’s best to go to the emergency with a false alarm then to die because you weren’t sure if you should go.

What are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack?

This was taken directly from the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute:

The most common heart attack signs and symptoms are:
· Chest discomfort or pain—uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness, or pain in the center of the chest that can be mild or strong. This discomfort or pain lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
· Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw, or stomach.
· Shortness of breath may occur with or before chest discomfort.
· Other signs include nausea (feeling sick to your stomach), vomiting, lightheadedness or fainting, or breaking out in a cold sweat.
If you think you or someone you know may be having a heart attack:
· Call 9–1–1 within a few minutes—5 at the most—of the start of symptoms.
· If your symptoms stop completely in less than 5 minutes, still call your doctor.
· Only take an ambulance to the hospital. Going in a private car can delay treatment.
· Take a nitroglycerin pill if your doctor has prescribed this type of medicine.
· Put an aspirin under your tongue. Aspirin reduces blood clotting and can help keep a heart attack from getting worse. But don’t delay calling 9–1–1 to take an aspirin.

Do you know if you are at risk of having a heart attack? You can take this quiz offered by the Canadian Heart and Stroke Foundation. Don’t wait. If you are at risk, take care of yourself. Your life absolutely depends on it.

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Calgary researchers develop 2-in-1 heart attack test

2 comments:

Crabby McSlacker said...

Good thing there's no real winter where i live!

But the thing that's always scary to me, as someone with a lot of heart disease in the family, is that I've heard the first signs of a heart attack in women can be subtle and very different from the 'classic' presentation more typical of men. Lots of women apparently don't realize they're having them and I think I read that even doctors are slower to recognize signs in women.

Marijke Durning said...

That is very true Crabby. Very true. It even happened to a neighbour of mine. She was "sick" with heartburn and indigestion for almost a week before she went to the emergency. She's darned lucky she was alive.