Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the world, killing over 800,000 people annually in the United States. With the amount of people dying from these conditions, do enough people know what the warning signs are? There are certainly things to look for, but if you aren’t paying attention, they can come at any time. Not paying attention puts your life on the line.
Hopefully you have been diligent with your yearly check-ups, and will know if you have conditions like high cholesterol and high blood pressure. Those will indicate to you your predisposition for heart attack or stroke. Find out what the warning signs are for heart attack or stroke are so that you can eliminate possible causes or have a plan in case of emergency.
Signs of Heart Attack:
Known medically as a myocardial infarction, a heart attack can strike at any moment, but by knowing the warning signs, you can find help before your life is in danger.
- Initial chest discomfort and pressure often described “like an elephant sitting on your chest,” pressure, squeezing, a feeling of fullness or pain will usually be one of the first signs.
- Discomfort in other areas of the body such as the arms, neck, shoulders, jaw, and stomach is a sign of a possible blockage.
- Shortness of breath or difficulty catching one’s breath
- Numbing feeling in the left arm is a typical symptom of a looming heart attack.
- Cold sweats or sweating in days previous. Many heart attack victims describe profuse sweating during sleep in the days leading up to the event.
- Nausea or vomiting are common symptoms of an imminent heart attack in women. Men typically suffer from indigestion leading up to a heart attack and usually write it off as heartburn.
Many people attribute the symptoms as another problem without realizing the danger they are in. If you think that you are experiencing a heart attack, call 911 immediately and if possible, take one aspirin. Aspirin can help ease blood flow to the heart and hopefully add a few extra minutes for emergency personnel to arrive to take you to the hospital for medical treatment.
Signs of Stroke:
There are two kinds of strokes that can occur: an ischemic stroke happens when there is a blood clot in the brain that stops blood flow and a hemorrhagic stroke that occurs when a blood vessel in the brain has burst causing pressure and internal bleeding. If you are unsure, use the F-A-S-T system for determining if you or a loved one is having a stroke.
- F: Face- Is there facial drooping or the inability to control facial movements?
- A: Arms- Is the person unable to raise or keep their arms raised above their head?
- S: Speech- Is the person having a slurred or strange speech or trouble communicating?
- T: Time- Keep track of when these symptoms appear for your doctor, but call 911 immediately.
Some stroke victims also report symptoms such as trouble seeing out of one eye, coordination loss and sudden, and incurable headache. By seeking medical treatment as soon as possible, you can stop the damaging effects of stroke from being permanent.
Wondering what your heart health is truly like? A Calcium Score (Heart Scan) and Carotid Ultrasound from the radiologists at Doctors Imaging could provide you and your doctor with preventive information that can save your life. To schedule your appointment today, either fill out our online form or call 504-883-8111.