The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute have launched an “Act in Time” campaign to increase people’s awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1 immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms.
Knowledge is power
Know the signs of a heart attack, but be aware that symptoms can vary from person to person.
7 common heart attack signs
Heaviness or fullness in the chest
Discomfort in arms, neck, jaw, stomach
Shortness of breath
Nausea and vomiting
Sometimes these symptoms can come on suddenly but they can develop slowly. Not every chest pain is a heart attack, but it is impossible to know that before evaluation by a medical professional. Call 9-1-1 if you think you may be suffering from these symptoms. Do not drive yourself the hospital if these symptoms exist because during a heart attack, the possibility of life threatening rhythms exist, which can result in sudden loss of consciousness and death.
Take action after a heart attack
Delaying treatment may make the difference between life and death. Never drive yourself to the hospital if the possibility of a heart attack exists, call 9-1-1 immediately. Doing nothing is not an option. Left untreated, acute coronary blockages can lead to permanent debilitating heart damage or sudden death.
Seek a hospital capable of emergency coronary surgery
In the past, patients who were having chest pain were told to go to the nearest hospital. This is no longer the standard of care. Patients with known coronary artery disease (hardening of the arteries or clogged arteries), previous coronary artery bypass surgery, previous angioplasty, or stents who are having symptoms are at high-risk of acute heart attacks and should be transported to the nearest hospital capable of performing urgent cardiac catheterization, angioplasty and stents. Treatment should not be delayed by sending a patient just to the nearest hospital that cannot provide these specialized services.