February is American Heart Month. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the top cause of death and nearly every 25 seconds a coronary event occurs in the United States.
It can take paramedics 12-13 minutes to arrive after a 9-1-1 call is made. Knowing appropriate action to take in an emergency until professional help arrives is critical in saving lives. The National Safety Council offers first aid and CPR skills training to help you be prepared to save a life in the event of an emergency.
It is also important to know the signs of a heart attack, so you will be ready to react in the proper manner. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense, but more start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. To determine if you, or someone you know, is suffering from a heart attack, look for the following evidence:
Chest discomfort. Pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the chest that lasts for a few minutes or comes and goes.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, shoulders, back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath. Often accompanies chest discomfort.
Other signs. May include lightheadedness, fainting, sweating or nausea.
Women should be aware that they also may experience atypical symptoms such as fatigue, nausea or headache.
Any experience with chest discomfort, especially when accompanied by one or more of these symptoms, warrants a call for help. Don’t hesitate, call 9-1-1.