It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack and stroke. The following information on angina, strokes and myocardial infarction can save your life or that of a loved one.
In the past few years, clot-busting drugs, angioplasty and other techniques have revolutionized the way paramedics and emergency room personnel treat heart and stroke emergencies. A few years ago, stroke victims were sent off for physical rehabilitation, but today, if the onset of a stroke can be detected rapidly, most victims can benefit from emergency drug therapy that can often reverse the debilitating effects of a stroke. The same drug therapy and treatment also applies to victims of certain types of heart attacks.
Angina, or angina pectoris is a painful or uncomfortable feeling in the chest that is the result of insufficient blood supply to the heart muscle.
What are the signs and symptoms of angina?
ØMild to severe discomfort in the chest.
ØAngina may feel like a crushing pressure, sharp pain, tightness, squeezing, or burning sensation
ØSimilar to a heart attack the pain may radiate to the shoulders, arm, neck, or jaw
ØNausea and/or vomiting
ØRapid or irregular heart rate
ØPale, sweaty skin
ØMay be mistaken for heartburn or indigestion
What to do if angina occurs?
ØImmediately call 9-1-1 and ask for an ambulance
ØStop any activity you are doing
ØSit or lie down
What will the ambulance do when they arrive?
ØAdminister oxygen, this will help your heart receive more oxygen
ØThey will take your vital signs - your blood pressure, heart rate and breathing rate
ØAn electrocardiogram (ECG) may be performed. This takes a picture of the heart which helps the paramedics better understand what is happening. The ambulance crew will place electrodes (stickers) on your chest and body
ØAn intravenous line may be started
ØThe paramedics may give you medication to reduce your angina
How to prevent angina?
üDon't smoke. Cigarette smoking can lead to heart disease and angina
üEat healthy. Proper diet and nutrition reduces the risk of heart disease and angina. Lower the amount of salt and cholesterol in your diet
üExercise regularly. Exercise strengthens the heart and reduces the chance of heart disease
üSee your doctor regularly
üTake your medication as prescribed by your doctor