A heart attack or stroke is serious—the quicker it is treated, the better. According to the American Stroke Association, as many as 87% of patients suffering from ischemic stroke can reduce long-term disability by taking a thrombolytic (clot-busting drug) within three hours of their first symptom. Calling 9-1-1 when someone is experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke can mean the difference between life and death. Remember the following signs and symptoms, as well as what to do in case of an emergency.
Know the Warning Signs
By Maria Oldham
Sudden…• Numbness or weakness of the face, leg or arm—particularly on one side of the body• Blurred vision in one or both eyes• Confusion or trouble speaking or understanding• Dizziness, loss of balance or coordination, or trouble walking• Severe headache with no known causeHeart Attack Warning Signs
• Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the neck, jaw or stomach
• A cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
• Shortness of breath, with or without chest pain
• Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, or pain in the center of the chest lasting more than a few minutes or disappearing and returning
What to Do
If you or someone you are with experiences any of these symptoms, follow these tips and guidelines from the American Heart and Stroke Associations. Staying calm and following a few simple steps could save a life.
Call 9-1-1. Do not wait to get help. Call 9-1-1 immediately and do not attempt to drive to the hospital. Follow the operator’s instructions and wait for an ambulance.
Stay Calm. Take long, deep breaths and try to focus on the help that is on its way.
Consider Aspirin. In the case of a heart attack, aspirin can help by thinning the blood. Call 9-1-1 first, and then ask the operator if it is safe. Taking aspirin is not advised during a stroke, so be sure to speak with the 9-1-1 professional before taking anything.