Heart Awareness Month
February is Heart and Stroke awareness month in Canada. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of heart attacks, strokes, prevention tips and the risk factors that are associated with heart disease. Now is the time to assess your personal health status in order to determine if you need to make adjustments to your lifestyle, to maintain a healthy heart.
Although chest pain or discomfort is the most common symptom of a heart attack in both men and women, some people will not experience chest pain at all, while others will experience only mild chest pain or discomfort. Others may experience one symptom, while some experience a combination.
• Chest discomfort (uncomfortable chest pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain, burning or heaviness)
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body (neck, jaw, shoulder, arms, back)
• Shortness of breath
If you are experiencing any of these signs, you should:
CALL 9-1-1 or your local emergency number immediately, or have someone call for you. Keep a list of emergency numbers near the phone at all times.
Stop all activity and sit or lie down, in whatever position is most comfortable.
If you take nitroglycerin, take your normal dosage.
If you are not allergic or intolerant to ASA (acetylsalicylic acid, commonly referred to as Aspirin®), the 9-1-1 operator may advise you to chew and swallow one adult 325 mg tablet or two 80 mg tablets. Do not use pain medicines such as acetaminophen (commonly known as Tylenol®) or ibuprofen (commonly known as Advil®) as they are not the same as ASA (Aspirin). It is important to note that ASA won’t treat your heart attack by itself. It is essential to call 9-1-1 or your local emergency number first and take ASA (Aspirin) while waiting for emergency personnel to arrive.
Rest comfortably and wait for an ambulance with emergency medical personnel to arrive.