(02/04/2012)
Every year, the month of February is designated as National Heart Health Awareness month. Minnie Hamilton Health System encourages their patients to be aware of the symptoms of a heart attack and to be diligent in contacting your doctor if you are having any of the symptoms.

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense the "movie heart attack," where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help.

Immediately call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you. As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives maybe your own.

Don't wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped.

For more information on learning to recognize a heart attack, visit www.heart.org


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