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HEART ATTACK

Chest pain is almost always considered an emergency. Aside from heart attacks, pulmonary embolus (blood clot in the lung) and aortic dissection or tear can be fatal causes of chest pain.

Classic pain from a heart attack is described as chest pressure or tightness with radiation of the pain to the jaw and down the arm, accompanied by shortness of breath or sweating. But it is important to remember that heart problems may not always present as pain or with the classic symptoms. Indigestion, nausea, profound weakness, profuse sweating, or shortness of breath may be the main symptom of a heart attack.

Should any symptoms occur that you believe are related to your heart, activate the emergency medical system. First responders, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics can begin testing and treatment even before you arrive at the hospital.

Remember to take an aspirin immediately if you are concerned that you are having a heart attack.

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Doctors and nurses in Emergency Departments take Chest pain very seriously. You are not wasting anybody's time, and you are not bothering anybody when you seek care for Chest pain.

Many people die before they present for medical care because they ignore their symptoms out of fear that something bad is happening. It is much better to seek care if you are unsure whether your symptoms are related to heart disease and find that all is well than to die at home.

Self-Care at Home
  • The first step to take when Chest pain occurs is to call emergency and activate the Emergency Medical System. First responders, EMTs and paramedics can begin treating a heart attack enroute to the hospital, alert the Emergency Department that the patient is on the way, and treat some of the complications of a heart attack should they occur.
  • Step two is to take an aspirin. Aspirin makes platelets less sticky and can minimize blood clot formation and prevent further blockage of the artery.
  • Step three is to rest. When the body does work, the heart has to pump blood to supply oxygen to the muscles and clear the waste products of metabolism. When heart function is limited because it doesn't have an adequate blood supply itself, asking it to do more work may cause more damage and risk further complications.

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