What are the Warning Signs of Heart Attack and Stroke?

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 Carotic 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.

Lung Cancer Symptoms and Screenings

According to the Center for Disease Control, lung cancer is one of the most aggressive and commonplace cancers in the world. More people die from lung cancer than any kind of cancer and over 200,000 new cases are reported every year. The cancer is fast moving and without catching it in the early stages, survival chances decrease rapidly. That is why it is of the utmost importance for most smokers over the age of 55 to be screened with a CT scan for lung cancer.

Do not be fooled. Lung cancer is caused by factors like smoking cigarettes and tobacco but it is still possible to develop this kind of cancer even without participating in these practices. The commonly reported lung cancer symptoms are:

  • a cough that doesn’t seem to go away
  • coughing blood or bloody phlegm
  • severe, constant chest pain
  • shortness of breath or breathing issues

These issues can be commonly confused with a severe cold or sickness and that may be part of the reason why people do not get properly screened. So if you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to contact your physician about getting a low-dose CT scan to check for cancerous  nodules or  masses in the lungs.

Another reason why lung cancer screenings are not occurring in enough frequency is because the #1 reason for lung cancer in Americans is smoking cigarettes. Smokers in today’s market are aware of the health risks, they are written right on the package of cigarettes, but most feel shame at their habit and thus do not take proper precautions to be checked for lung cancer. Shame and fear of what the results will hold are the top reasons more people do not have lung cancer screenings.

While tobacco itself is a dangerous plant, it is the additives in cigarettes that contribute to the developing of lung cancer. Dangerous substances from cigarette smoking include all kinds of  chemicals like nicotine, tar, carbon monoxide, ammonia, formaldehyde, cyanide and arsenic. And yet, people continue to smoke them despite information about the ingredients. These chemicals were never manufactured to be ingested but because of nicotine, a highly addictive additive, these chemicals are kept at low amounts so that they don’t kill customers quickly, but rather slowly causes diseases like emphysema and lung cancer, all the while making smokers lifelong customers. A sick cycle indeed.

Doctors Imaging in Metairie has the distinct pride of being the only facility in the Greater New Orleans area that has been certified by the American College of Radiology as a Lung Cancer Screening Center. Because of our equipment, experience and other qualifications, we have been able to offer our services and help detect lung cancer and get our patients the treatment necessary. Our computed tomography capabilities are some of the best because we use the Siemens 64 slice CT, one of the best pieces of equipment on the market.