Keep that Heart in Check

Keep that Heart in Check

Keep that Heart in Check

This is a reminder to keep a check on your heart. Not the romantic part of your heart—even though that is important—but the part that keeps us all keeping on. It’s important to keep your heart in shape and paying attention to any signs telling you something just isn’t quite right. It’s important not to ignore something different or something of which you’re unsure. Keep in mind the warning signs can be slightly different in men and women.

The following five symptoms is a list that of what you might be experiencing that needs to be followed up with a visit to your health care provider. These can be your early warning signals that you have HEART DISEASE. So please do not ignore them -- especially if you are experiencing more than one at any given time:

  • Fatigue after simple activities or with no known cause
  • Unexplained aches and pains
  • Shortness of breath after relatively easy tasks
  • Swollen legs, ankles or feet, i.e., if you have deep dents in those areas from socks or by pressing your finger into the skin of your legs
  • Heart palpitations can be harmless but if you are sedentary and experiencing them, take this as a warning sign

Do see your doctor who can begin testing to see if there is something going on with your heart and can begin to help you before something more ominous begins to happen. Keep reading…

Please pay attention to the following and keep alert for any of these symptoms that may be signaling you are experiencing a HEART ATTACK:

  • Crushing chest pain, weakness and left arm pain considered the “normal” signs and symptoms; however, the following symptoms can also be experienced and should not be ignored:
  • Pressure or tightness in the chest which can feel different from person to person like an elephant sitting on your chest or simple indigestion (and please do not ignore this symptom)
  • Pain in the jaw, neck and can be radiating down either arm or back between the shoulder blades (the latter is most common in women)
  • Nausea
  • Sweating
  • Dizziness
  • Gradual weakness or fatigue that may have started months ago

Get help from a family member or alert those you are with to call 911 or you may have to call 911 yourself. Do not drive yourself to the hospital. If you are the family member, friend or a bystander, stay with this person until help arrives.

You need to know that both of the above situations can result in CARDIAC ARREST. If someone is going into cardiac arrest, you may see heart attack-like symptoms such as weakness and nausea and then symptoms that escalate and this is when you must go into action. Full blown cardiac arrest symptoms are:

  • Loss of consciousness
  • Unresponsive
  • Lack of pulse
  • Stopped breathing or not breathing normally
  • Can experience agonal breathing which is an exaggerated gasp and not true breathing
  • Can be pale, sweaty and off-color

Make sure you and the patient are in a safe environment, for instance, out of water. The Chain of Survival is now front and center. Quickly call 911, or better yet, instruct someone else to call 911 because you need to begin CPR immediately. If the person is on a bed, try to remove them to the floor—a hard surface is better for CPR. If there is an AED (automated external defibrillator) available, either you (if by yourself) or someone else needs to get the device, turn it on and listen to the prompts and get it hooked up to the patient. CPR once started should not be stopped. The AED is going to evaluate the patient and may instruct you to stop CPR because it is preparing to shock the patient. Listen to the prompts carefully. After a shock, the device may tell you to continue CPR. Do this until the patient regains consciousness or emergency personnel arrives.

If there is no AED available, start and do not stop CPR until help arrives. If, for some reason, you are uncomfortable providing mouth-to-mouth breaths, do compressions only. 

Fast action in this instance is paramount to a favorable outcome. After 4 minutes in cardiac arrest, a person’s chance of survival starts to go down and after 10 minutes there is no chance of survival. But doing something, even if it’s only CPR, you are providing someone with a chance at life.

This blog was inspired by the February Newsletter provided to us by the AEDSuperstore who helps Bordas & Bordas maintain the AED devices located in all of our offices. CPR classes and classes to become familiar with an AED (which is now available in an increasingly number of public places and private homes) are readily available at most local fire departments. CPR standards have changed over the years and even how to evaluate someone that may be in cardiac arrest has changed. Contact your local fire department for this very important training. Bordas & Bordas offers AED and CPR training to all that work here and the Wheeling Fire Department provides the excellent hands-on training.

Remember, if nothing else, CPR alone may save a loved one. Go ahead and call about that training. You may help to keep someone else’s heart in check.