February - American Heart Month

Adrianne O. Vidrine  |  2/9/2011 10:36:02 PM

February is American Heart Month, which is designed to urge Americans to join the battle against cardiovascular diseases, including stroke, which are our nation’s number one killer.

In honor of American Heart Month, I would like to share some information from the American Heart Association about heart attack, stroke and cardiac arrest warning signs and what to do if these signs are present.

Heart Attack Warning Signs:

  • Chest Discomfort – Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back.
  • Discomfort in Other Areas of the Body – It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
  • Shortness of Breath – Symptoms can also include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach. Other signs include shortness of breath, or breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stroke Warning Signs:

  • Numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body.
  • Confusion, trouble speaking or understanding.
  • Trouble seeing in one or both eyes.
  • Trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination.

Cardiac Arrest Warning Signs:

  • No response to tapping on shoulders.
  • No normal breathing – the victim does not take a normal breath when you tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds.

If the signs listed above are present, CALL 9-1-1. Heart attack and stroke are life and death emergencies. If you have any of the symptoms mentioned, immediately call 9-1-1. Not all signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go away and return. Today, heart attack and stroke victims can benefit from new medications and treatments that were not available in the past. But to be effective, some of these drugs must be given relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So, don’t delay – get help right away.

For further information, you may contact Adrianne Vidrine at the LSU AgCenter at (337) 788-8821 or you can also visit our website at http://www.lsuagcenter.com

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