You’re nibbling appetizers at a party when you abruptly break into a cold sweat. You feel lightheaded and your friend mentions that you appear pale. Is it something you ate? You sit down in a nearby chair and assure your friend that you’ll be fine. Just when you’re feeling better, a wave of nausea hits and you feel an ache in your neck.
Would you: A) Dismiss the whole episode; or B) Ask your friend call 911? The correct answer is B. The initial symptoms of a heart attack can be subtle and begin slowly. When it’s happening, every minute counts. Even if it turns out to be something minor, like indigestion, it’s better to have a physician examine you to be sure.
Because February is American Heart Month, Hudson Physicians wants to make sure you know the signs of heart trouble and offer heart care suggestions to help prevent you from experiencing a heart attack or stroke.
Warning Signs of a Heart Attack
According to the American Heart Association, possible signs of a heart attack include:
- Recurring pressure or squeezing in the middle of the chest
- Pain or discomfort in one or more areas such as the back, stomach, one or both arms, jaw, or neck
- Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
- Breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, or lightheadedness
Is It a Stroke?
You’re at book club with your mom when you notice she’s begun to slur her words. Concerned and knowing the possible signs of a stroke, you ask her to smile. The left side of her face droops. Your mom raises her arms when asked, but her left arm slowly drifts toward the floor. She’s unable to repeat a simple sentence.
In addition to these symptoms, other signs of a stroke may include:
- Sudden confusion or difficulty understanding
- Dizziness, loss of balance, or trouble walking
- Vision problems in one or both eyes
- A sudden onset of a severe headache
Don’t Wait, Call Now
If you or someone you love experiences any of the potential symptoms for a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. Don’t try to drive to the hospital. Paramedics can begin treatment as soon as they arrive, and those minutes may save your life. Never feel embarrassed that you might cause unnecessary work for paramedics — they’d much rather see you stay alive.
Ways to Promote a Healthy Heart
There are simple lifestyle strategies you can enlist to help support heart health including:
- Exercise several times a week to boost your heart rate. Walking, jogging and even dance walking can be fun and effective.
- Eat more fruits and vegetables, and cut down on your sugar and fat intake. Frozen grapes can be a sweet and healthy snack.
- Avoid stress as much as possible. Try to carve out a little “me” time once a day. Exercise also helps lower your stress level.
- Get a good 8 hours of sleep each night.
- If you need to lose weight, avoid crash diets — just take your exercise level up a notch and focus on eating lean proteins, fruits and vegetables.
If you have questions or would like more information, please feel free to contact Hudson Physicians or schedule an appointment with the Heart Care Specialty Consulting Services.
When it comes to your health, we always have your best interest at heart.