A woman suffers a heart attack every 90 seconds in the United States according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The good news is that if you seek help quickly, treatment can save your life and prevent permanent damage to your heart muscle.
If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, call 9-1-1 immediately. Treatment works best if given within one hour of when symptoms begin.
Common symptoms are:
Unusually heavy pressure on the chest, like there’s a ton of weight on you
Sharp upper body pain in the neck, back and jaw
Severe shortness of breath
Cold sweats (not hot flashes from menopause)
Unusual or unexplained fatigue (tiredness)
Unfamiliar dizziness or light-headedness
Unexplained nausea (feeling sick to the stomach) or vomiting
Stroke is the third leading cause of death for women and during a stroke, every minute counts.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause is a stroke sign in men and women. Other symptoms include:
Sudden numbness or weakness in the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or difficulty understanding speech.
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or lack of coordination.
Sudden severe headache with no known cause.
The most effective stroke treatments are only available if the stroke is recognized and diagnosed within three hours of the first symptoms. F.A.S.T. treatment can reduce the brain damage that stroke can cause. If you think someone may be having a stroke, act F.A.S.T. and do the following simple test:
F — Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop?
A — Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?
S — Speech: Ask the person to repeat a simple phrase. Is their speech slurred or strange?
T — Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately.
Note the time when any symptoms first appear.
Some treatments for stroke only work if given in the first three hours after symptoms appear. Do not drive to the hospital or let someone else drive you. Call an ambulance so that medical personnel can begin life-saving treatment on the way to the emergency room.
By knowing the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke, you can be prepared to take quick action and perhaps save a life — maybe even your own.