Heart Attack & Stroke by mrsumairsheikh


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									    H ealth H ints                                                                                               March 2010
 Editor: Janet M. Pollard, MPH
                                                                                                                Vol. 14, No. 3

Heart Attack & Stroke
Will you know when it happens?
How would you know if you were             American will suffer a heart                   portray the signs of heart attack or
having a heart attack or stroke?           attack….On average, every 40                  represent the signs of stroke.
Would you know if your loved one           seconds someone in the United
was exhibiting the signs of heart          States has a stroke.”3 “Stroke will
                                                                                          “The chances of surviving
attack or stroke? Should you call          affect 4 out of 5 families over the
for help or wait and see if these          course of a lifetime.”4 The truth is,          a heart attack are
are the true symptoms? What if             most of us don’t go untouched by               greater when emergency
it’s only heartburn or a headache?         heart disease or stroke – if it is not         treatment begins quickly.”6
How can you know the difference?            us, it is a loved one or friend.
Do men and women exhibit the
                                           We can all work to be healthier and           Heart Attack & Stroke
same symptoms? Will you know
                                           reduce risk factors. We can work to
when it happens?                                                                         Why you need to get
                                           quit tobacco use, exercise regularly,
We’d all like to think “it won’t           eat healthier, and try to maintain a          help – fast
happen to me.” The truth is, heart         healthy weight. For healthy adults,           It is important to seek treatment
disease and stroke are the number          regular screenings at your doctor’s           for both heart attack and stroke
1 and number 3 causes of death in          office beginning at age 20 should               immediately to have the best
America, respectively.1 (Cancer is         include checks of blood pressure,             chances for life and the least
number 2.) And, although stroke            cholesterol and triglycerides, and            chances for damage or disability.
is number 3, it is a leading cause         BMI and waist circumference                   Here’s why:
of serious long-term disability.2          checks, as well as blood sugar                Heart attack. “A heart attack, also
“About every 34 seconds, an                levels (beginning at age 45). If any          called a myocardial infarction,
                                           of these levels are in an unhealthy           occurs when a section of the heart
                                           range, we can be at greater risk for          muscle dies or gets damaged
                                           heart disease and stroke. Talk with           because of reduced blood supply.
                                           your doctor about how to manage               Coronary Artery Disease (CAD)
                                           these conditions most effectively.             is the main cause of heart attack.
                                           Even with the best of care, however,          A less common cause is a severe
                                           there are factors we cannot control           spasm of a coronary artery, which
                                           (like genetics, heredity, and aging).         also can prevent blood supply
                                           It is so important to know what it            from reaching the heart.”6 If
                                           looks like – and feels like – when            immediate treatment is not sought,
                                           someone is suffering a heart                   “further damage to the heart
                                           attack or stroke. Too often, we are           muscle can occur, and an irregular
                                           deceived by the images we have                heart rhythm may develop.”6
                                           seen on TV or movies … someone                “Sudden cardiac arrest – the
                                           dramatically clutches their chest             stopping of the heart – occurs
                                           and that’s it, yet this is rarely the         when the heart stops completely.”6
                                           case.5 Although chest pain is one             Sudden “cardiac arrest usually
                                           sign of heart attack, it is not the only      occurs when your heart’s electrical
                                           indicator; such images do not fully           activity becomes disrupted and
        For information on other health topics, visit Extension’s Family & Consumer Sciences website: http://fcs.tamu.edu.
the heartbeat gets                                                              too long before getting help. Here
dangerously fast or                                                             are signs that can mean a heart
chaotic.”7 Sudden                                                               attack is happening:
cardiac arrest is not                “If you get to the hospital
                                                                                • Chest discomfort. Most heart
a heart attack, but               within three hours of the first                   attacks involve discomfort in the
it can occur during                  symptoms of an ischemic                       center of the chest that lasts more
a heart attack. This
                                     stroke, a doctor may give                     than a few minutes or that goes
sudden loss of heart
                                                                                   away and comes back. It can feel
function, breathing,                   you medications, called                     like uncomfortable pressure,
and consciousness                   thrombolytics, to break up                     squeezing, fullness, or pain.
usually results from
an electrical system
                                  blood clots. Unfortunately, if                • Discomfort in other areas of
malfunction in the                you have had a hemorrhagic                       the upper body. Symptoms
heart that disrupts the            stroke, few medications can                     can include pain or discomfort
pumping action and                treat it, but surgery may stop                   in one or both arms, the back,
causes blood to stop                                                               neck, jaw, or stomach.
flowing to the rest of
                                            the bleeding.”11
                                                                                • Shortness of breath with or
the body.8, 9 “Unless                                                              without chest discomfort.”16
treated, a person
whose heart has                           disability, or death. Recognizing     • Feeling faint, woozy, or
stopped will die within minutes.”     6   symptoms and acting fast to get          lightheaded.16,17
                                          medical attention can save a life
“People who experience a                                                        • Breaking out in a cold sweat.16, 17
                                          and limit disabilities.”13
heart attack need emergency                                                     • Nausea (feeling sick to your
care such as cardiopulmonary              “When a stroke happens, it
                                                                                   stomach) or vomiting.16, 17
resuscitation (CPR) or electrical         is important to recognize the
shock (defibrillation). That’s why         symptoms, call 9-1-1 right away,      “As with men, women’s most
you need to act quickly once you          and get to a hospital quickly.”12     common heart attack symptom is
notice the signs and symptoms                                                   chest pain or discomfort. But women
of heart attack…. The chances of          Signs & Symptoms                      are somewhat more likely than men
surviving a heart attack are greater Differences in men                         to experience some of the other
when emergency treatment begins                                                 common symptoms, particularly
quickly.”6                                & women                               shortness of breath, nausea/
                                          Both men and women can                vomiting, and back or jaw pain.”16
Stroke. “A stroke, sometimes called experience similar signs of heart
a brain attack, occurs when a clot        attack or stroke. Women, however,
blocks the blood supply to the brain are more likely to experience some
(called an ischemic stroke) or when other common symptoms. It is
a blood vessel in or around the           important to know all possible
brain bursts (called a hemorrhagic        signs – “women are less likely to
stroke).”10 About 85 percent of           survive heart attacks than men,”14
all strokes are ischemic strokes.11       and “more women than men die
“In either case, parts of the brain       from strokes.”15 If both men and
become damaged or die.”                   women cannot identify the signs,
“Stroke can cause death or                how will they protect and help
significant disability, such as            themselves or each other?
paralysis, speech difficulties, and         Heart attack warning signs. “Some
emotional problems. Some new              heart attacks are sudden and
treatments can reduce stroke              intense – the ‘movie heart attack,’
damage if patients get medical            where no one doubts what’s
care soon after symptoms begin.”12 happening. But most heart attacks
“Two million brain cells die every        start slowly, with mild pain or
minute during stroke, increasing          discomfort. Often, people affected
risk of permanent damage,                 aren’t sure what’s wrong and wait

HealthHints: Heart Attack & Stroke                       2                               Texas AgriLife Extension Service
“Women are also more likely to
have less common signs of a heart
                                                          Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA)
attack, including:                                                 A mini-stroke
• heartburn,                            “It may not be a full-blown stroke, but a transient ischemic attack
• loss of appetite,
                                        (TIA) – also called a mini-stroke – is your warning that one could be
                                        just around the corner. TIAs produce symptoms similar to strokes,
• feeling tired or weak,                but they usually only last a few minutes and don’t cause damage.
• coughing, or                          About a third of people will subsequently have a stroke, and about
                                        half of them will have it within a year.”19 A TIA lasts for less than
• heart flutters.                        24 hours (it may only last for a few minutes), but a TIA is a serious
Sometimes the signs of a heart          warning sign of stroke that should not be ignored.20 According to
attack happen suddenly, but they        the National Stroke Association, “up to 40 percent of all people who
can also develop slowly, over           have experienced a TIA will go on to have an actual stroke…and
hours, days, and even weeks             nearly half of all strokes occur within the first two days after a
before a heart attack occurs.           TIA.”20 If you have stroke symptoms, or see them in someone else,
                                        even for a short time, call 911 or have someone take you to the
The more heart attack signs that        hospital immediately. The goal of TIA management is to prevent
you have, the more likely it is that    future stroke. Talk with a doctor about the best stroke prevention
you are having a heart attack.          options for you.20 For more information on TIAs, their symptoms
Also, if you’ve already had a heart     and causes, see the full article, What is TIA?, from the National
attack, your symptoms may not           Stroke Association.
be the same for another one. Even
if you’re not sure you’re having a
heart attack, you should still have    symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast        • F – Face: Ask the person to
it checked out.                        action can save lives – maybe            smile. Does one side of the face
                                       your own. Don’t wait more than           droop?
If you think you, or someone else,     five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your
may be having a heart attack, wait                                            • A – Arms: Ask the person to
                                       emergency response number.”16
no more than a few minutes – five                                                raise both arms. Does one arm
at most – before calling 911.”17       Stroke warning signs. It is              drift downward?
                                       important to understand that
“Learn the signs, but remember                                                • S – Speech: Ask the person to
                                       stroke is an emergency. “The
this: Even if you’re not sure it’s                                              repeat a simple sentence. Are
                                       first three hours are the most
a heart attack, have it checked                                                 the words slurred? Can he/she
                                       important. Once you pass three
out (tell a doctor about your                                                   repeat the sentence correctly?
                                       hours after the first sign of stroke,
                                       doctors are limited in how or if       • T – Time: If the person shows
                                       they can treat your stroke.”15 “If       any of these symptoms, time is
                                       you get to the hospital within           important. Call 911, or get to the
                                       three hours of the first symptoms         hospital fast.18
                                       of an ischemic stroke, a doctor        “Common stroke symptoms seen
                                       may give you medications, called       in both men and women:
                                       thrombolytics, to break up blood
                                       clots. Unfortunately, if you have      • sudden numbness or weakness
                                       had a hemorrhagic stroke, few             of face, arm or leg – especially
                                       medications can treat it, but             on one side of the body;
                                       surgery may stop the bleeding.”11      • sudden confusion, trouble
                                       “Typically, patients arrive 12 to         speaking or understanding;
                                       24 hours after the first stroke
                                       symptom.”15 “The chance that           • sudden trouble seeing in one or
                                       you will survive and recover              both eyes;
                                       from a stroke is higher if you get     • sudden trouble walking,
                                       emergency treatment right away.”10        dizziness, loss of balance or
                                       Think F.A.S.T. to identify signs of       coordination; or

Texas AgriLife Extension Service                          3                         HealthHints: Heart Attack & Stroke
• sudden severe headache with                                                                                        Your Role…
   no known cause.                                          Patients who arrive at the
Women may report unique stroke                              hospital in an ambulance                                 Your role now may or may not be
symptoms:                                                   usually receive faster                                   that of someone touched by heart
                                                            treatment for heart                                      attack or stroke, but either way,
• sudden face and limb pain,
                                                                                                                     with heart disease and stroke being
• sudden hiccups,
                                                            attack and stroke                                        the number 1 and number 3 causes
                                                            symptoms than someone                                    of death in the U.S., respectively,
• sudden nausea,
                                                            who arrives by car.16                                    we should all learn the signs. Now
• sudden general weakness,                                                                                           is the time – not when it is too late.
• sudden chest pain,                                      personnel may give you some                                Knowing the signs and symptoms
                                                          instructions over the phone, such                          of heart attack and stroke and how
• sudden shortness of breath,                                                                                        to act fast could be the difference
                                                          as telling a potential heart attack
• sudden palpitations.”18                                 victim to chew an aspirin if there                         between life and death or health
A stroke is an emergency. Make                            is no medical reason to avoid it
sure you can identify the signs so                        (aspirin should not be taken by a
that you can get help and get your                        person experiencing symptoms of
loved one to the hospital in time                         a stroke21). Follow the instructions
for the best possible outcome.                            of emergency personnel, and try
                                                          to remain calm. “Bystanders who
                                                          have been trained to perform CPR
The Importance of                                         or use a defibrillator may be able
Emergency Care                                            to help”6 as well, but be sure you
EMS help                                                  have called 9-1-1 and that help is
Both heart attack and stroke                              on the way.
require immediate action. If you                          “Emergency medical services
think you or someone you know                             (EMS) staff can begin treatment
is having a heart attack or stroke,                       when they arrive – up to an hour
call 9-1-1 immediately.6 Patients                         sooner than if someone gets to the
who arrive at the hospital in an                          hospital by car. EMS staff are also
ambulance usually receive faster                          trained to revive someone whose
treatment for heart attack and                            heart has stopped. …It is best to
stroke symptoms than someone                              call EMS for rapid transport to the
who arrives by car.16 Emergency                           emergency room.”16
                                                                                                                     and permanent damage or
                                                                                                                     disability. There is a lot that can be
                                                                                                                     done, in most cases, if we act fast.
                                                                                                                     In the meantime, learn the signs,
                                                                                                                     and make healthy lifestyle choices
                                                                                                                     (don’t smoke, exercise regularly,
                                                                                                                     eat healthfully, maintain a healthy
                                                                                                                     weight, and have your blood
                                                                                                                     pressure, blood lipids, and blood
                                                                                                                     sugar levels checked regularly).

                                                                                                                       To view the references used
                                                                                                                       in this newsletter, go to:
This document is meant for educational purposes only and is not intended to                                            http://fcs.tamu.edu/health/
replace the advice of your doctor or other health care provider.                                                       healthhints/2010/mar/ref.php
   Educational programs of the Texas AgriLife Extension Service are open to all people without regard to race, color, sex, disability, religion, age, or national origin.
                  The Texas A&M University System, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the County Commissioners Courts of Texas Cooperating

HealthHints: Heart Attack & Stroke                                                   4                                             Texas AgriLife Extension Service

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