RUTHERFORDTON – February is American Heart Month and Rutherford Regional Heath System (RRHS) reminds the community that 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.
RRHS is in the process of becoming a chest pain accredited facility and is making a special effort to ensure everyone knows what signs to look for and to understand 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 before it’s too late.
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?
First, 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.
When it comes to identifying the risk of heart disease, the American Heart Association identifies six major factors: high cholesterol, high blood pressure, smoking, diabetes, being overweight and physical inactivity. Knowing – and avoiding – these top risk factors for heart disease is vital to prevention.
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.