Are there warning signs before the heart stops?
A study reported at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions this month showed sudden death isn’t so sudden after all. Fifty-six percent of the men in an Oregon study had chest pain and didn’t report it. Others had: dizziness, fainting, palpitations and shortness of breath. These may be unrecognized heart symptoms in women, too.
Nearly 400,000 people have cardiac arrests each year and 88% of the events occur at home. Unless medics are called and CPR is started immediately survival is low. Fewer than 10% of those suffering a cardiac arrest survive.
What can you do?
Learn the symptoms and seek attention before a heart attack or cardiac arrest occurs.
Chest pain is not always the first symptom of coronary artery blockage. More than 50% of people having heart attacks die before reaching the hospital. To improve your chances for survival, pay attention to possible symptoms of reduced heart blood flow. These vary and in women are often subtle.
♥ Indigestion, nausea
♥ Upper back or abdominal discomfort
♥ Aching in neck, jaw, or either arm
♥ Short of breath or weak with activity
♥ Weakness with mild activity
♥ Chest discomfort or pressure
What causes the heart to stop?
Heart disease develops over a lifetime. The slow narrowing within heart arteries is silent — no symptoms. When the blood flow is decreased to the point when symptoms are recognized, the actual blood flow may be restricted by more than 90%. When increased oxygen is needed such as with exercise or stress, the heart beats faster but cannot supply enough blood and the heart muscle suffers. Sometimes sudden death is caused by abnormal fatal rhythms generated by the irritable oxygen-starved conduction system. In a heart attack, the vessel has closed, stopping all blood flow to a portion of the muscle and the heart stops beating.
What are common factors increasing risk for heart disease and sudden death?
Untreated High Blood pressure
Obesity and high fat diet
High LDL cholesterol
Low HDL cholesterol
Illicit drug use
LEARN CPR YOU MAY SAVE A LIFE
Hands-Only® CPR instructional video recommended for adults since 2008