Serious as a Heart Attack!
By Dr. Tim Fargo, Chiropractor
In honor of Valentine’s Day, February is designated as Heart Health Month. Consistent with that theme, I wanted to provide some additional information about a condition that afflicts millions of Americans every year and is the cause of death for many. I am talking about heart attack, also known as a “myocardial infarction”. What usually happens when a person has a heart attack is that the blood vessels that feed the heart muscle itself (coronary vessels) become blocked. When that occurs the heart muscle is starved of oxygen and nutrients and subsequently dies. Most often these blockages are the result of deposits of fat, cholesterol and other substances (plaque) that break loose and plug the coronary vessels.
It is important to point out that the symptoms of a heart attack vary greatly from person to person. Some people have no symptoms at all, or have mild pain, while others may have severe pain and might even go into sudden cardiac arrest (the heart stops altogether). In many, the earliest sign might be recurrent chest pain or pressure that occurs when the person exerts themselves. This is known as “angina”. If you hear a person talk about the fact that they get chest pain when they are exercising or doing physical labor, this may be an early precursor to a heart attack.
Other common symptoms of heart attack include:
- A squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to the neck, jaw or back. Some people describe this as a pressure, tightness or squeezing pain.
- Shortness of breath is a common symptom.
- Nausea, indigestion, or what they perceive to be heartburn or abdominal pain is common.
- Some people break into a cold sweat.
- Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness are also common symptoms.
- Unusual or unexplained fatigue over the course of days.
It is interesting to note that women will often experience heart attack differently than will men. They can experience some, or all, of the symptoms listed above, but they may also have a heart attack without any chest pain, or few symptoms at all.
If you suspect that either you or someone you know is having a heart attack, then you need to act immediately. The first thing to do is to call 911. If emergency services are not immediately available, then get someone to drive you or your friend to the hospital. If you suspect you are having a heart attack, then driving yourself to the hospital may put both you and others at risk.
If you see someone who is unconscious and you think that they may be having a heart attack, call 911 before you do anything else. If they are not breathing or you cannot find a pulse, then begin CPR. If you have access to an AED (Automated External Defibrillator), then this is a good time to use it. AEDs are used to assess the rhythm of the heart and can, when appropriate, instruct you to deliver a shock to bring the heart back into normal rhythm. Survival rates for heart attack victims are substantially increased when an AED is used. We recommend that all of you have basic training in CPR because you never know when someone might experience a heart attack and require assistance. I have had to render CPR on a couple of occasions, once in a restaurant, and another time in a health club. I am acutely aware of the need to have this basic, lifesaving skill. We will, in the very near future, pandemic allowing, be offering a CPR course at Chiropractic Health and Wellness. Stay tuned for additional information.
It is an unfortunate fact of life with an aging population that you might witness an event when someone is having a heart attack. This information is provided in order to allow you to better identify when there is a real problem that requires an immediate and dramatic solution.
We ❤️ You!
At Chiropractic Health and Wellness we prioritize health with drug free, all-natural solutions. We believe creating healthy habits is key to managing heart health. Toward that goal we offer diet options for weight management and exercises for cardiovascular health. Reach out to us to see how we can assist you in living a healthier lifestyle.