Jessamine County Coroner

Heart Attack Revisited

Some time ago I wrote an article on surviving a heart attack. While I should perhaps

move on to another topic, I feel compelled to sound the alarm again about this deadly killer.

Throughout Kentucky, as well as the rest of the country, heart attacks, or myocardial infarctions, are claiming the lives of far too many people who could and should have survived.

While public service announcements, medical providers and even many employers warn us about the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, it may not be enough. Statistics show that a significant number of people who die after suffering a heart attack had one or more of the typical symptoms, as well as ample time to seek appropriate medical attention, which most likely would have saved their lives.

What is it that prevents so many heart attack victims from seeking immediate medical help? Perhaps it's not understanding the symptoms described as associated with heart attack; or maybe experiencing different symptoms altogether; or not wanting to be embarrassed, especially if we're not actually having a heart attack. Or could it be denial that we could actually be having a heart attack ourselves? Many people believe that

you have to have some kind of less severe warning signs long before you actually have a real heart attack.

The startling truth is that for many victims, the first indication of heart disease is a heart attack which may or may not be lethal.

There are two main concepts to know about heart attacks: first, know how to recognize the signs; and second, call 911 for help immediately!

Lost time equates to lost heart muscle. The longer the delay in treatment of a heart attack, the more damage the heart sustains, and the greater the risk for not surviving at all.

While for some people, the symptoms may actually occur then go away; for others they may persist for several days before causing an actual heart attack. The real issue is, no one can know if your symptoms are a sign of an actual heart attack or not, without the medical expertise and equipment that your local EMS can provide.

Symptoms may include: heavy pressure in or on the chest, or unusual feeling of indigestion; pain or numbness extending into the left arm; pain or numbness in the jaw; heavy sweating; nausea or vomiting. It is important to remember that everyone doesn't experience the same symptoms, and most people don't experience all of them.

Act quickly if you experience the heavy pressure in the chest, or two or more symptoms which last for more than five minutes. Call 911, and take an aspirin, which can lessen the severity of heart muscle damage caused by a heart attack.

By all means, lessen your risks! Stop smoking, strive for a healthy weight, maintain a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Oh yeah. About calling 911. Even if its not a heart attack, you did the right thing, the smart thing!

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