What You Need to Know About Heart Attacks

January 16, 2008

I live in a very small town. If I don’t know someone, chances are that someone else I do know does. So, needless to say, news travels with lightning speed here.

Recently, that was the case with news that wasn’t good. A father of three was playing basketball in the gym at Newtown High School. Basketball had been a New Years’ resolution for him. When he stopped to catch his breath, he slumped against a wall. The man was having a heart attack. Other men tried to resuscitate him to no avail. One man took his kids to the lobby during the ordeal and that was where they were when their father died.

He was only playing basketball!

So, now I ask you, do you know what to do in case of a heart attack? Do you know the warning signs? Do you know how to help someone if they are having a heart attack?

If you don’t read anything else on Fit Fare this year, read this.

Warning Signs

According to the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute, these are some warning signs of a heart attack:

Chest discomfort

Upper body discomfort

Shortness of breath

A cold sweat, nausea or light-headedness

What You Should Do

If you see someone having a heart attack, time is of the essence. There is only a limited amount of time where medical personnel can help, but if things are handled expeditiously, then there can be a positive outcome. Immediately call 9-1-1. If they have children, offer to call a relative.

If you worry that you are at risk for a heart attack, make a plan. First, talk to your doctor on ways to mitigate your risk. Decide what you would do with your children if a heart attack happened. Have your doctor’s number posted in an easy to find place, like the refrigerator. Be sure that your insurance (life and medical) is up to date.

If you see someone in cardiac arrest, perform CPR or find someone who can. You could save a life. Know if there is a defibrillator in your local school gyms. If so, know where to find it.