Know the Signs of a Heart Attack
- Discomfort or pain in the center of the chest
- Discomfort in other parts of the body, including the arms, back, neck jaw or stomach
- Shortness of breath
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, feeling nauseated or lightheaded
If the blood supply to the heart muscle is cut off, a heart attack can result. Cells in the heart muscle do not receive enough oxygen and begin to die. The more time that passes without treatment to restore blood flow, the greater the damage to the heart. Having high blood pressure or high blood cholesterol, smoking, and having had a previous heart attack, stroke, or diabetes can increase a person's chances of having a heart attack.
According to the American Heart Association, about 700,000 Americans have an initial heart attack and another 500,000 have a recurrent heart attack each year. According to a CDC report, almost half of the cardiac deaths in 1999 occurred before emergency services and hospital treatment could be administered.
It is important to recognize the signs of a heart attack and to act immediately by calling 9-1-1. A person's chances of surviving a heart attack are increased if emergency treatment is given to the victim as soon as possible.
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