by Geri Walton ~ February 4th, 2009
According to Medline Plus over one million people have a heart attack every year and about half of the heart attack sufferers die. Many heart attack sufferers also end up with permanent damage because they don’t get help immediately. These statistics may change if you know and follow some key items to improve your chances of surviving a heart attack.
The first thing you need to know to survive a heart attack are the symptoms. Here they are according to Medline Plus and realize they may include any or all of the following symptoms:
- Chest discomfort, which includes pressure, heaviness, squeezing, radiation, or pain
- Discomfort in the upper body, which can include the arms, back, neck, or shoulders
- Dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, sweating, or vomiting
- Shortness of breath
Now that you know the symptoms, if you have them, you should also know choosing the right hospital may also improve your chance of survival. To determine the nearest and best equipped and train hopsital for heart attack victims, check Hospital Compare, which tells you “how well hospitals care for patients with certain medical conditions or surgical procedures, and results from a survey of patients about the quality of care they received during a recent hospital stay.” Compare and pick the hospital now, before you have a problem.
There are also five important steps doctors suggest you follow. Here they are:
- Call 911. According to a British Heart Foundation survey, people tend to be more concerned about others than themselves when it comes to a heart attack. So, if you think your are having heart attack call 911 immediately. Don’t worry if you wrong. It’s better to react swiftly.
- Chew Two Aspirin. If you feel pressure, discomfort, or heaviness in your chest or if the pain radiates down your arm, to your neck, jaw, or breastbone, call 911 immediately. Doctors at the Harvard Medical School also suggest you immediately chew two 325-mg aspirin because chewed aspirin gets into your system faster than drinking it with water and because aspirin inhibits platelets and reduces clotting.
- Don’t Minimize Symptoms. When the ambulance arrives be specific and tell the EMTs you having a heart attack. Repeat that same information at the hospital, make sure you are specific, and tell them you think you are having a heart attack. Do NOT minimize your symptoms.
- Get Appropriate Treatment. Even before the results of any tests are in, your health care professional should begin treatment and may include any or a number of the following: aspirin, beta-blockers, nitroglycerin, ACE inhibitors, and/or clot-busting treatments, such as tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) and/or angioplasty.
- Get the Correct Tests. Women in particular often have atypical symptoms and may not get the tests they need to determine whether or not they are having a heart attack, so be assertive. Ask for an electrocardiogram (EKG) and blood tests to determine your cardiac enzyme levels.
Knowing these key items can make the difference in whether or not you survive a heart attack and it can determine how much damage may be done. Remember if you are having symptoms, don’t hesitate in calling 911 and don’t minimize your symptoms. It can make all the difference in the world.