Minutes Matter: Knowing the Signs of Heart Disease Can Save a Life
When a heart attack strikes, every minute matters. In fact, the first few minutes are critical in determining the short-term and long-term outcome for the patient. According to the National Institutes of Health, of the people who die from heart attacks, about half will die within an hour of their first symptoms.
We want to make sure everyone in our community knows what signs to look for and understands what to do if you or someone you know experiences a serious heart problem. Quickly taking action will help ensure that the victim gets proper medical treatment as soon as possible.
Cardiovascular disease, or heart disease, is the leading cause of death in the United States, but what causes it? And who is most at risk?
Heart disease refers to problems inhibiting the heart’s ability to properly function and circulate blood through the body. Many of these problems are related to atherosclerosis – the process of a substance called plaque building up in the walls of the arteries. Plaque buildup narrows the arteries, making it harder for blood to flow through. This increases the risk of a blood clot forming, which can stop blood flow and potentially cause a heart attack, stroke or even cardiac arrest.
Knowing – and avoiding – the top risk factors for heart disease is vital to prevention. The six major risks, as identified by the American Heart Association, are high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, being overweight and physical inactivity.
Heart attacks, stroke and cardiac arrest are all life-threatening, and every second is critical in regard to response time and treatment. If you or someone around you is experiencing any of the following symptoms identified by the American Heart Association, call 9-1-1 immediately to receive help and treatment as quickly as possible.
Symptoms of a heart attack:
Symptoms of a stroke:
Symptoms of cardiac arrest:
Talk to your physician to learn more about symptoms and steps you can take today to improve your heart health.