Save a Life: Be Heart Smart This Year
Facts from the American College of Emergency Physicians
Heart attacks are the number one killer in the United States. More than half of the daily
4,000 deaths occur outside the hospital during the first three hours of symptoms.
"Overeating and drinking can be dangerous for an already overstressed
individual," says Wayne Pasanen, M.D., chief of Emergency Medicine at Lowell General
Hospital. Dr. Pasanen and the American College of Emergency Physicians recommend the
following tips to make this a "heart health" year.
Recognize the Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
People often dismiss heart attack symptoms as indigestion. Key symptoms include a
heaviness, pressure or tightness in the chest or shortness of breath. This pressure can
spread to the neck, shoulder, arms or back. Sweating, nausea, "heartburn" and/or
fatigue are other signs.
Understand the Risk Factors
A decrease in blood flow to the heart causes heart attacks. Risk factors include a high
blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, diabetes and a family history of heart attacks.
Any sudden increased demand on the heart, such as shoveling snow, excessive meals, or even
grief, may cause a decreased supply of blood to the heart, which can trigger a heart
Know How to Help a Heart Attack Victim
Thrombolytic therapy, or heart attack drug treatment, can save most victims if given
within a few hours of the onset of symptoms. Learn how to recognize the warning signs and
get help quickly. Don't allow the person to deny the problem of feel embarrassed. Call
9-1-1 or your local emergency number. Remain calm and offer to accompany the person to the
Decrease Your Chances of Having a Heart Attack
Dr. Pasanen recommends eating wisely, exercising and actively listening to your body.
"You only have one heart, which beats 100,000 times a day. Treat it right!" he
Be "Heart Smart" and same a life - it may even be your own. For further
information regarding heart disease, contact:
American Heart Association National Center (214) 373-6300
National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute (301) 251-1222
Heartlife Hotline 1-800-241-6993