February is Heart Health Month…

How long do you think it would take you to recognize that you might be having a heart attack? How long might it take you to recognize it in somebody else?

A heart attack happens every 40 seconds in the US. Heart attacks can be deadly, but a new study found that one of the most important ways to save lives and improve outcomes from a heart attack is to get to the hospital quickly.

They found that getting to the hospital quickly makes a bigger difference in outcomes than how long it takes to be treated after arrival at the hospital. That’s because hospitals have become pretty efficient at acting quickly (treating heart attacks within about 45 minutes of arrival). So, changing the hospital response time by 10-20 minutes is less likely to make a difference than changing the amount of time it takes to get to the hospital.

So, let’s review the classic signs to help you recognize a heart attack:

● Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest
● Any of those same pressure sensations in the arms or spreading to your neck, jaw, or back
● Nausea, indigestion, heartburn, or abdominal pain
● Shortness of breath
● Cold sweat
● Fatigue
● Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

Some people have a heart attack completely out of the blue. Others get warning signs hours, days, or even weeks in advance. One warning sign is chest pain that is triggered by activity and goes away with rest. This can be a good reason to seek medical help before it becomes an emergency situation.

February is Heart Health Awareness Month. Please share this information with anyone you love. And if you (or somebody you are with) starts to show concerning signs of a heart attack, please dial 911. It could save a life.