Heart attack has affected my family and many other families. Heart attack continues to be one of the top killers in North America and affects both men and women. The signs and symptoms of heart attack are more than just chest pain.
The warning signs of heart attack may include the following:
- chest discomfort (pressure, squeezing, fullness, burning, pain or heaviness)
- discomfort in the neck, jaw, shoulders, mid/upper back
- shortness of breath
- nausea, light-headedness
- denial (I am too young or too fit to have a heart attack. This is not happening to me)
Although chest pain is a hallmark symptom of heart attack, a study indicates that women under 55 having a heart attack are more likely not to have chest pain (42% more than older women or men (30%). (see full article)
If you know someone who is experiencing above symptoms, you can help them by taking the following actions:
- CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times.
- Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.
- Ask if they take nitroglycerin. If they do, help them to get the medication, but let them to administer it themselves.
- Rest comfortably and wait for an ambulance with emergency medical personnel to arrive.
- If unconscious and not breathing, perform CPR.
CPR is a life saving skill that everyone should know. Studies show that if you were going to apply CPR on someone, usually that person would be someone you know, a close friend or a family member. So take a bit a of time, find a local course near you. It only takes a few hours to learn.