Monday, February 15, 2010

Helping the Heart-Attackee

It’s February, and that means it’s heart awareness month. The leading cause of death worldwide is heart disease and related conditions, but you probably already knew that, yeah? ;)

I thought I’d share some info on heart attack, the most notably famous heart disease and also due to an e-mail I received (will come to that later…)

I’ve faithfully copied excerpts from About.com and familydoctor.org and pasted them here because they limit the medical jargon. Read it, ok?

I'm having a heart attack? (familydoctor.org)
The pain of a heart attack can feel like bad heartburn. You may also be having a heart attack if you:
  • Feel a pressure or crushing pain in your chest, sometimes with sweating, dizziness, nausea or vomiting
  • Feel pain that extends from your chest into the jaw, left arm or left shoulder
  • Feel tightness in your chest
  • Have shortness of breath for more than a couple of seconds
  • Feel weak, lightheaded or faint
  • Have sudden overwhelming fatigue
Don't ignore the pain or discomfort. If you think you are having heart problems or a heart attack, get help immediately. The sooner you get treatment, the greater the chance that the doctors can prevent further damage to the heart muscle.

What should I do if I think I am having a heart attack?
Right away, call for an ambulance to take you to the hospital. Don’t try to drive yourself. While you wait for the ambulance to come, chew one regular tablet of aspirin. Don't take the aspirin if you're allergic to aspirin.

If you can, go to a hospital with advanced care facilities for people with heart attacks. In these medical centers, the latest heart attack technology is available 24 hours a day. How well you survive a heart attack depends on how quickly you get treatment, how much damage there is to the heart, and where that damage is

What should I do if my family member/ friend is having a heart attack?(About.com – just slightly edited :D It was on how to help your spouse…)
1.       Have him stop all physical activity and sit and rest if he suddenly starts experiencing severe pain in their chest.
2.       Call 911 or call out for help if you are not near a telephone.
* In Malaysia, it’s 991 and not 911. Please try to remember, folks! It varies from country to country, I think.
3.       Push fast on his chest.
4.       If you can, give two rescue breaths after every 30 chest compressions.
5.       You don't have to stop to check for improvement.
6.       Don't stop until help arrives. This is because blood circulation increases with each chest compression. It is important to keep the blood flowing.

Tips:
1.       Don't advise him to start coughing. That advice that has been circulating around the Internet can not be verified by medical literature. The American Heart Association does not endorse cough CPR.
2.       Aspirin is known to prevent blood platelets from sticking together and can prevent a clot from getting bigger. The next time you have an appointment with your doctor, ask about the pros and cons of either of you chewing and swallowing one 325 mg. aspirin in an emergency situation.

* The cough-can-save- your- life-during-a-heart-attack legend is not true. Stop circulating that e-mail, please. (Yep, that’s the e-mail I mentioned earlier) Coughing may help regulate the heart rhythm (hence used in arrhythmias, but by PROFESSIONALS only) but most heart attacks are caused by thromboembolisms and vessel spasms. The coughing may further propagate the emboli.  
Summary? Stick to pressing the heart area – way safer.

* Learning CPR is not a bad idea, you know. Even if you are fortunate enough not to use it, a little extra knowledge couldn’t hurt, could it? ;)

* Heart diseases are preventable. Go google it or my post will be waaaaayyyy too long :P And please, bug your parents/uncles/aunties into going for regular health checkups. It really does make a difference between life and death.

* If a person’s having a heart attack, he has approximately 10 seconds before he loses consciousness. React fast. If the guy does pass out, DO NOT panic. Keep doing the chest compressions and rescue breaths till help arrives, all right? It keeps his heart pumping and that is vital.


Hope the articles I celok-ed help somewhat! Have a nice day, people.
Oh, I used ‘him’ coz typing ‘him/her’ took too much time, plus I’m notoriously lazy ‘bout things like this and
‘celok-ed’ is the local term for ‘filched’, in case you were wondering. It’s in Manglish ;)

p/s : Click here - for individual risk assessment . That makes me sound like a hypochondriac, doesn't it? Oh, well! :P 

2 comments:

Loshini said...

chavie : thank you!got d link in... woo-hooo!!! :D

Chavie said...

Losh - glad to be of help! :D

Thanks for this informative article. I think there's more awareness these days about heart care than there was in the past... hopefully this leads to less lives lost to heart disease! :)