what are the signs and symptoms of a heart attack? What should you tell the EMS when they arrive. How to tell if you have a stroke?
Pre-existing heart disease is a common cause of cardiac arrest, however, many victims have no known heart problems. 50 percent of men and 63 percent of women who experience arrest due to coronary heart disease (blockage of blood vessels) have no prior symptoms according to the American Heart Association.
Signs and Symptoms of Heart Attack:
Pain in jaw, arm or neck
Sweaty/cool clammy skin
Shortness of breath (Please remember that not everyone who has a heart attack experiences chest pain.
Any one or combination of these symptoms could indicate a heart attack.
So don’t wait until you are having all of these to call, or it may be to late.)
If you experience signs or symptoms of a heart attack, the earlier you receive medical attention the better. The pain you feel is the heart telling you that it is not getting the needed oxygen it needs to function. The heart muscle is being damaged because of a lack of oxygen due to an obstruction. The faster you get medical treatment, the smaller the amount of damage that will have been done. Also you should lie or sit calmly if experiencing these symptoms until help arrives. The more you move the harder your heart has to work and this can make the problem worse.
What to tell EMS when they arrive:
How long ago did the pain start?
What were you doing at the time it started?
Does anything relieve the pain?
Have you ever experienced this before?
Are you on any medications?
Do you have any allergies?
Even if you think that it is “only a mini-stroke” you should call for the ambulance.
Keep the patient still and comfortable, and be prepared to turn them on their side if saliva starts to pool in their mouth.
Signs and symptoms of a stroke:
Weakness on one or both sides of the body
Numbness or decreased sensation on one side of the body
Aphasia ( Inability to speak)
Confusion or coma
Incontinence (loss of bowel or bladder control)
Numbness in the face
Dysarthria ( Slurred speech)
As with the heart attack, be prepared to let the EMTs and Paramedics know of any medication the person is taking, and what they were doing at the time it began. Also what changes you may have noticed since the onset, and of any medical history they might have.