In Case of a Heart Attack
HEART ATTACK? CALL 9-1-1 IMMEDIATELY
Don't take chances with life! When a heart attack is suspected, call 911 immediately. The Fire Department has professionals trained to evaluate conditions and transport heart attack patients to the hospital, if necessary. These professionals are available, should a medical emergency occur.
Common warning signs
- Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back
- The pain spreads and radiates from the chest into the shoulders, arms or neck
- Discomfort in the chest and lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Less common warning signs
- Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain, nausea or dizziness
- Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue
- Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness
Not all these signs occur in every attack. Sometimes they go away and return. If even some occur, get help fast: Call 9-1-1.
Non-variable risk factors
- Heredity - A person cannot change his or her genetic background.
- Sex - Women have a lower incidence of heart attack.
- Race - Blacks have a 45 percent greater chance of high blood pressure.
- Age - Risks increase with age. However, one in four deaths occur under age 65.
Variable risk factors
- Smoking - One pack a day increases the heart attack rate two times over a nonsmoker, and stroke rate five times over a nonsmoker.
- Hypertension - High blood pressure is a major risk factor but with no specific symptoms. One in three adults or 58,000 Americans have high blood pressure controlled by diet, exercise and medications.
- Diet - High fat, high cholesterol foods cause plaque to collect on artery walls, constricting blood flow.
Other risk factors
- Obesity - Obese middle-aged men have a three times greater risk of heart attack.
- Lack of exercise - Regular aerobic exercise at least three times a week reduces risk.
- Stress - A Type A personality, with a sense of urgency, drive and competitiveness, has a greater risk.
Suspect a heart attack?
- Recognize the signals.
- Stop activity, rest or lay down.
- If pain lasts more than two minutes, call for help
- Patients with early signs often deny having a heart attack.