Do You Think You May Be Having A Heart Attack?  What Should You Do?

Are you having a heart attack?  Or is the person next to you having one?  What do you do next?  How you answer that question could make a difference in how this episode plays out.  Being aware of the signs and knowing what to do next could make the ultimate difference.

In this page, we'll provide some symptoms to watch for and some responses you can make to save lives.

In his book, “Fix It." Dr. Chauncey Crandall gives a very good description of what to expect and how to deal with a potentially traumatic situation.

Not all events  present the same symptoms.  Seldom will it happen as the classic clutching of the chest followed by a collapse.  Chest pains are a symptom, but not every  time.

Here are some common symptoms listed in Dr. Crandall’s insightful edition...

Shortness of breath… Discomfort in neck or jaw that spreads to shoulders or arm

 Pain or pressure in chest area…  Nausea or vomiting

 Indigestion or a choking feeling…   Sweating

 Rapid or irregular heartbeat

 Anxiety…  General feeling of sickness

 Dizziness or lightheaded feeling…  Sudden overwhelming fatigue

So there are plenty of possible symptoms.  The key is to get medical attention as quickly as possible.  It could be life saving.  Denial is a reason many victims don’t even get to the doctor. They think it will pass.   Just below is a first person testimonial on the importance of fast action.

A Lesson Learned About Denial

The fact that this man was able to write this accounting after surviving this cardiac episode speaks volumes about recognition and accurate response.

Heart Attack And Cardiac Arrest Are Not The Same

A heart attack occurs when blood flow to the organ is blocked.   Immediate response is vital because doctors agree that most of the damage is done in the first few hours after this original trauma.  Cardiac muscle damage can be limited with quick action.

Dr Crandall states that the first hour is known as the “Golden Hour.”  In this first hour it is possible to avoid very serious damage if blood flow is restored quickly.

He states that you should never drive your self to the hospital.  In fact don’t even have someone else do the driving.  Call 911 and wait for the paramedics.  They will have the training, equipment and contact with the hospital to begin treatment right away upon arrival.  Heart attacks can often lead to cardiac arrest.

Heart attack and cardiac arrest are often thought to be the same thing, but in reality this is not correct.  As we mentioned above, the first is caused by a blockage of blood flow.   Cardiac arrest is due to total loss of heart function due to an electrical malfunction.

The person suffering a cardiac arrest will lose consciousness quickly followed by a loss of pulse.  Without immediate treatment, death will follow soon follow. 

Nearly every school and many business establishments have portable, external defibrillators on site.  As training and preparation methods expand and improve, more lives will be saved.

During that crucial time between recognition of cardiac arrest and the arrival of medical professionals, life or death often is decided by effective CPR methods.  This is an area where some time spent learning the proper techniques could save a life.

5 Steps to Save A Life

Here is a link describing a simple two step process anyone can use.  There is a short video on the landing page.  Some personalities will love the presentation.  Some, more melancholy types like me, might need more data.  This link also has some of that for us. 

In his book, Dr.Crandall advises those who may be having a heart attack, but not cardiac arrest to chew a couple aspirin tablets while you wait for the paramedics unless you are allergic to aspirin.  This will help to thin the blood.   Be sure to advise the paramedics of any medication you may be taking. 

If you are with a person who may be having a possible heart attack, try to keep him or her calm.  If you can get them to turn on to their side it could help them if they do experience vomiting.

Dr. Crandall goes on to explain what will happen at the hospital and also gives a great description of what emotional challenges a heart attack victim will endure.  He points out that recovery is both physical and emotional. 

A Reversible Trend

There are plenty of ways  to avoid the need to use this page.  Lifestyle change including diet and 60 minutes of walking per day would be a great start. 

The Mediterranean diet is an amazing plan that can prevent many chronic diseases.  So much money is wasted on fad diets and expensive in-home exercise machines that eventually end up in garage sales. 

This easy transformation in thinking could eliminate thousands of deaths, hours of hospital stays and fortunes in health care costs. 

Recognition of symptoms would save the lives of many who are already in the danger zone.  A recent study indicated that a large number of cardiac victims actually began to experience symptoms months in advance.

Sadly, the researchers weren't able to speak to all of the participants.  They weren't able to do so because those people died.  The signs might have been there, but the recognition wasn't.

In the page directory in the left margin, I've included pages about more symptoms, including those unique to women.  As is the theme throughout, increasing knowledge is a constant process.

We never know if the time to respond to a potential heart attack will be right in front of us.  You may save a life.  It might even be your own!

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Just below is a quote from "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" by Richard Carlson.  The chapter title is "Open Your Heart To Compassion." 

"Every day we are given hundreds of opportunities to practice compassion in action.  We can learn to be less reactive and live with more patience.

We can smile when others are serious.  We can drive our cars more carefully, pick up litter on the streets, recycle, and reduce our consumption.

We can resolve conflicts rather than create them, and we can become less judgemental and more inclusive.  When someone is aggressive, we can teach them to be more peaceful.  Instead of waiting for an example, we can be the example.

The more compassion that enters your heart, the happier and more peaceful you will become.  By knowing that you are doing your part to create a better world-whatever form that takes-you will fill any void that exists in your life, and you will begin to find the peace you are looking for."

What's New?

Just below is an article from Peter Schiff about passing the buck from one administration to the next.

Owning The Bubble

Just below is a link to look up your congressional representatives.   Let them know you expect accountability.

Congressional Representative Look Up