Watching a loved one being taken surprise by a heart attack is no laughing matter. You must know what to do if someone has a heart attack.
Heart attacks are sudden, painful, and potentially fatal. Managing them could be the difference between life and death. Here’s what to do if someone has a heart attack, and how you can prevent it.
What to do if someone has a heart attack: Heart Attack Statistics
A heart attack can overwhelm you. The statistics are alarming.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, about 610 000 Americans pass away because of a heart attack each year. That works out to 1 in 4 deaths. A worrying 735000 people suffer from it yearly.
Furthermore, it’s the top cause of death for men and women. This life-threatening condition accounted for more than half of male deaths in 2009.
Also, Coronary Heart Disease, the most common type of Heart Disease, kills over 370000 people annually.
What to do if someone has a heart attack: 14 actions
A heart attack sends anyone into panic mode. Here’s how to cope if it surprises your loved one.
First of all, put life-saving procedures in place if a family member has a heart condition. The person should wear a medical bracelet that details his or her medical issues.
Note that the person should be in the emergency room within half an hour of the attack. It raises the chances of recovery.
2. Recognize the signs
Also, heart attack symptoms can mirror others, e.g., choking, and asthma. Therefore, it’s crucial to recognize them.
Men usually feel a crushing pain in the chest. It often extends to the shoulder blades, particularly the one on the left.
Women experience the same symptoms men do. However, others, such as breathlessness, may accompany them. A pain in the jaw and indigestion are common.
3. Stay Close
Panic is an all-too-common reaction in the event of emergencies. Staying calm and focused will get the patient to the emergency room safely.
4. Treating the Patient
If the patient is conscious, keep him or her as comfortable as possible. Loosen the person’s collar to ease his or her breathing. Provide Aspirin and Angina medication.
If the patient is unconscious, open his or her airway and prepare to administer CPR.
Steps for CPR:
a. Place the heel of your hand on the patient’s chest.
b. Cover this hand with the heel of your other hand and interlock your fingers.
c. Deliver 30 compressions at the rate of 100 per minute. Press the chest down about two inches. Release the pressure, but not your hands, and watch the person’s chest rise.
d. Open the airway again by tilting the head back and letting the patient’s mouth hang open.
e. Administer rescue breaths. Pinch the person’s nostrils and support his chin. Cover his or her mouth with yours and blow.
f. Remove your mouth and watch the person’s chest fall.
g. Operate the Automated External
Defibrillator (AED). These are machines that will deliver small shocks to correct abnormal heart rhythms. Place the pads on the person’s chest, and the device will talk you through it.
What to do if someone has a heart attack: Prevention
Heart attacks don’t have to happen in the first place. Arteries become blocked when fat collects along their walls. They form plaque, which pressurizes the heart muscles.
The good news is that heart attacks are preventable. The best answer to what to do when someone has a heart attack is to limit their risk. Make lifestyle changes that contribute to your cardiovascular health.
5. Eat fruits and vegetables
First of all, eat more fruits and vegetables. They contain the antioxidants that are vital for a healthy heart. High in fiber, they flush LDL cholesterol out of the body. This 2017 study proves that a plant-based diet limits their risk.
6. Go for whole grains
Also, whole grains contain fiber, proteins and other nutrients not present in white flour. Whole grain pasta and bread will lower your cholesterol levels. Besides, they are filling and keep you from snacking.
They also contain B-vitamins, iron, selenium, and magnesium, which boost immune functions. This Harvard Review unveiled that whole grains even prevent some cancers.
7. Eat Less Salt
Salt causes your blood pressure to rise, which increases the risk of a heart attack. Sodium causes the body to retain water. The excess fluid that collects can lead to heart failure, according to this Harvard Review. The recommended level of sodium is about 2000 mg a day.
8. Exercise Regularly
You’ve probably heard too often that exercise is beneficial for the heart. Indeed, regular exercise strengthens the heart and enables it to pump more oxygen throughout the body. According to this study, it lowers blood pressure and prevents cardiovascular diseases.
9. Stop Smoking
You’ve heard this before – people and tobacco don’t make the best bedfellows. Stay away from it if you want a healthy heart.
Secondhand smoke also causes lung cancer. This study proves that it increase triglycerides (fat) and therefore cardiovascular risk.
10. Reduces Stress
Furthermore, increased levels of cortisol, the stress hormone, puts pressure on the heart. Research suggests that the stress hormone triggers stroke.
11. Lowers Cholesterol
Moreover, cholesterol lines the arterial walls and causes plaque buildup. As they narrow, they disrupt oxygen flow. Simple lifestyle changes, e.g., exercise and diet usually prevent this but is hereditary in some cases. The doctor may prescribe medication to bring them down.
12. Lowers Blood Pressure
High blood pressure is a silent killer. The force of blood pumping through the veins is too high. This study shows that hypertension is one of the factors that contribute to coronary heart disease.
The American Heart Association verifies that inadequate sleep leads to Type -2 Diabetes, Obesity, and Cardiovascular disease. This study emphasizes that people who get less than seven hours of sleep put themselves at risk of a heart attack.
14. Test Screenings
Proper monitoring of your blood pressure and the performance of regular tests will keep your heart healthy.
In all, we often overlook our heart health, although it is crucial. These are straightforward but essential answers to what to do if someone has a heart attack.
By Michelle L.