Know the Symptoms of Heart Attack and Stroke

A recent study revealed that more people die from heart attacks on Christmas Day and New Year’s Day than any other days of the year. Researchers lay the blame on people’s reluctance to disrupt celebrations and seek help.

In addition, people often take a break from healthy habits during the hectic holiday season. Behaviors such as eating well, exercising and getting enough rest should be maintained for good health. Furthermore, maintaining medications, especially high blood pressure pills and blood thinners, is critical.

This is one of many reasons why you should learn the signs of heart attack and stroke. But remember, even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out. Minutes matter and fast action can save lives! Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1.

According to the American Heart Association, calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS is also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.

If you can’t access the EMS, have someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you’re the one having symptoms, don’t drive yourself unless you have absolutely no other option.

Heart Attack Warning Signs:

  • Chest pain or discomfort lasting more than a few minutes (or that goes away and comes back)
  • Discomfort in other areas of the upper body such as pain in one or both arms, back, neck, jaw or stomach
  • Shortness of breath, with or without chest discomfort
  • Other signs, such as nausea, breaking out in a cold sweat or lightheadedness
  • Women are more likely than men to experience exhaustion and shortness of breath, indigestion or upset stomach, anxiety and back or jaw pain

Stroke Warning Signs:

  • Sudden numbness or weakness of the face or leg, especially on one side of the body
  • Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  • Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden, severe headache with no known cause