As of June 2011 everyday 10,000 people turn 65. Pretty crazy huh? The baby-boomers were the largest group of people born at one time ever! Between 1946 to 1964 1 BILLION babies were born. What this means now is that the majority of our population is aging. What generally comes with age? Yep, you guessed it…illness.
The top 4 death-related illnesses are heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, followed by respiratory diseases and so on. These chronic degenerative diseases, which are primarily preventable, are what’s killing the people we love.
However, there is something we can do about it. Becoming educated on some of the signs and symptoms associated with these life threatening illnesses and being able to respond if an emergent event happens can be the difference between life and death for our loved ones.
This is the first part in a 4 part series I’ll be covering called Recognize and Respond.
In this blog post I’ll be covering what heart disease is. How it impacts us here in the U.S. How to recognize when someone is having a heart attack. Lastly, I’ll be going over briefly what YOU can do to help someone you’ve noticed possibly having a heart attack.Are you ready? Let’s go.
Heart disease is the NUMBER 1 killer in the U.S. According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC) 610,000 people die from it every year. Guys, that’s 1 in 4 deaths. They also have shown that almost 400,000 of those deaths are from Coronary Artery Disease.
Guess how many heart attacks happen each year? 735,000 and about 500,000 of those are first-timers. Here’s what is staggering (as if those prior stats weren’t), the first symptom of heart disease, in the majority of people who are diagnosed with heart disease, is death.
Recognizing signs and symptoms is super important, but I think it’s also necessary to educate people on the importance of the big 3: Diet, Exercise, Supplementation. Even the federal government has finally figured out that the best way to treat disease, the least costly way to treat disease, is prevention.
Despite what you might think, the underlying cause of heart disease is not high cholesterol. Although, it is a risk factor, along with high blood pressure and diabetes. The NUMBER 1 CAUSE of heart disease is oxidative stress. If you can lessen the amount of oxidative stress one undergoes, you’ve fixed the biggest problem. The way you do that is through diet and supplementation.
As far as exercise goes, the American Heart Association recommends getting “at least 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes per week of vigorous exercise (or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity). Thirty minutes a day, five times a week is an easy goal to remember. You will also experience benefits even if you divide your time into two or three segments of 10 to 15 minutes per day.”
So let’s get to it. Let’s discuss the signs and symptoms of a heart attack. You might not know this, but the signs and symptoms are different between men and women. Signs and symptoms of a heart attack in women aren’t what one would usually associate with a heart attack. Because of this it's a wonder why men are more often dying from heart attacks than women!
Here is a guide for you to use for both Men and Women. These are the most common MAJOR signs and symptoms associated with a heart attack:
-Shortness of Breath
-Left Arm, Shoulder, Neck, Facial pain
-Tightness or Pressure of the chest
-Shortness of Breath
-Upper Abdominal Pain
Outside these signs and symptoms, NEVER discount the classical symptoms of heart attacks:
chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure, left arm, shoulder, neck and facial pain.
Now when this happens, it’s SO important to respond. We don’t have a whole lot of time to work with. “Time is tissue!” This means the longer we wait the more tissue is affected. Remember, a heart attack, similar to a stroke, is the LOSS OF PERFUSION (of blood, oxygen, nutrients) to an area of the heart.
Re-perfusion is the number 1 goal.If someone you witness begins having any of the symptoms above, the first thing you do is CALL EMS. Now when you go to call EMS, you might hear things like, “Oh, I’m fine.” “Don’t do that! I’ll be just fine”. “It’s probably something I ate.” “This happens all the time. It will go away in a minute.”
DO NOT LISTEN! It’s better to err on the side of caution. Second, if it's at all possible and there is no allergy to Aspirin, find an aspirin and give it to them. Even more important, have them chew it up and swallow it. This will thin the blood out pretty quickly and many times alleviate the symptoms.
The person may actually have a medication called Nitroglycerin lying around somewhere. If they do, have them place one under their tongue every 5 minutes for a total of 3 times. What it does is relaxes the coronary blood vessels going to and coming from the heart, which will help re-perfuse the heart.
Third have them sit down or lay down and loosen any restrictive clothing they might have on. They need to try and relax as much as possible until the ambulance arrives. We don’t want the heart working any harder than it has too. As I mentioned, it's better to err on the side of caution. It’s unfortunate that most people don’t recognize when they’re having a heart attack. You just never think it could happen to you.
Remember, the number 1 sign of cardiac disease in 51% of all cardiac disease diagnoses is death. This is why it’s so important to be able to Recognize and Respond.
I think I’ve covered just about everything I said I would. You should now understand how heart continues to impact us as a nation. You should also know how to reduce the risk of heart disease, how to recognize when someone is possibly having a heart attack, and how to respond in the case someone IS having a heart attack.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read this. I hope it’s been helpful. If you’ve ever been in a situation where you had to recognize and respond to a heart attack, please comment below.
Also, if you have anything you feel would be important to add, I’d love and welcome all comments.Please “Like” and “Share” this blog post if it was of value. Thanks so much for making a difference! Because when you share things like this to those you care about, you truly are.