February is American Heart month, a time to learn about cardiac disease and ways to live a heart healthy lifestyle. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, for both men and women. It claims upwards of one million people annually. Yet, there much that we can do to live a healthier, heart smart lifestyle.
In addition to diet and exercise, it is important to know the symptoms of a heart attack. Immediate emergency care in the event of a heart attack can reduce the risk of long term, irreversible heart damage. Everyone should know the symptoms of a heart attack, especially since the symptoms can be different for men and women.
Warning signs of a heart attack include the following:
- Chest discomfort
- Discomfort in other parts of the upper body
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat
- Lightheadedness or nausea
Other common symptoms and signs of a heart attack may include the following:
- Upper body discomfort in one or both arms, the back, the neck and jaws, or the upper part of the stomach
- Sudden dizziness
- Sudden fatigue, sleep disturbances, or lack of energy
If any of these symptoms occur, you should call 911 and seek emergency medical care. In addition, you should seek medical attention if medication you normally take for chest pain ( also known as angina) does not work in alleviating the pain. It is strongly advised to call for an ambulance in the event of chest pain. Medical personnel can begin lifesaving treatments enroute to the hospital, lowering the risk of long term heart damage. For more information on heart attacks and reducing the risk of heart disease, check with your local chapter of the American Heart Association.