Tag Archives: Just A Little Heart Attack

How To Save A Life: Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

Warning signs:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain. (List found at the American Heart Association website.)

I went ahead an included the specific warning signs for women, because they include all the same warning signs as for men, and this list includes those few extra commonly reported symptoms. After calling 9-1-1, the person suffering symptoms of a heart attack should chew and swallow one Aspirin tablet, unless he/she is allergic, or has been instructed by a doctor not to take Aspirin. Acetaminophen and Ibuprofen do not work in the same way, and as such should not be administered. Give the person nitroglycerin if, and only if, it has been prescribed to them by a doctor. Have the person lie down, if he/she is having trouble breathing or swallowing put him/her into the recovery position. Try to keep the person calm and alert. If the person loses consciousness (enters cardiac arrest) begin CPR. If the person has no vital signs, CPR should be continued and an automated external defibrillator (AED) should be administered.   Now here is a PSA from Go Red For Women, featuring actress Elizabeth Banks. About the video, Banks said, “While the film is funny, having a heart attack is not something to be laughed at. However, I’m using humor to help uncover the truth about heart disease, to get people interested in learning more about their hearts — and our movement.” I don’t think leaving one’s mom on the floor with an iPhone and an article about heart attacks is the appropriate course of action by any means, but you get the point.