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You Called 911, Now What?

You Called 911, Now What?

Someone has a heart attack every 40 seconds in the U.S. With quick action and an immediate response, you can help to lessen heart damage and save your life when seconds count.

Recognizing the signs of a heart attack is the first step. Everyone thinks they know the symptoms but not all heart attacks start with chest pain. Symptoms can begin slowly with mild discomfort and vary by person, age, gender, and existing health conditions. Those with diabetes may not have symptoms at all.

Common warning signs include:

  • Chest pain and pressure that fluctuates or lasts for more than a few minutes.
  • Pain and discomfort in the upper body, arms, neck, back, teeth, and jaw.
  • Unexplained shortness of breath.
  • Cold sweats
  • Nausea or vomiting

If you experience any of these symptoms, call 911 or ask someone to call 911 immediately. This is usually the fastest way to get emergency care. It is never recommended that you drive yourself or someone you know to the hospital in a car. Emergency personnel are trained to administer lifesaving care to those experiencing a heart attack and have access to a defibrillator that can revive a person in route to the hospital.

When you’re still conscious and while waiting for EMS to arrive, take aspirin if you have it on hand. A normal dose of Aspirin (325 milligrams) works by slowing the blood’s clotting ability and minimizes the size of the blood clots that may have formed. If you are alone, unlock your front door and lay down near it, so they can find you quickly and easily.

Once EMS arrives, they will transport you to the hospital where tests can determine the type of heart attack you had and the best course of treatment.

There are many myths circulating that claim to stop a heart attack however there is no way to stop a heart attack without seeking emergency medical care at a hospital. These so-called “fast” treatments are not effective and can be dangerous by delaying much-needed medical treatment.

Regular checkups with your doctor are key in determining your overall risk for a heart attack. Tell your doctor if you have a family history of heart attack, diabetes, obesity, smoking or hypertension. While a heart attack can’t be predicted, you can work with your doctor to lower the chances of one happening to you.