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November 19, 2015

How Is Your Heart?

The day my grandfather died, he spent several hours experiencing mild symptoms of a heart attack. His upper body felt uncomfortable, and there was pain radiating along his left arm. He was tired and short of breath. The pain in his arm persisted most of the afternoon. Maybe he thought it was his arthritis acting up, or a muscle cramp. He took a rather stoic approach to physical discomfort, so it is possible he had other sensations that he didn't think were important enough to mention.

Heart attack symptoms can include pressure or tightness in the chest, heartburn, nausea, sweating, dizziness, weakness, and a feeling of dread. Heart attacks are not always sudden and dramatic, and they don't always produce tremendous pain. Sometimes the symptoms are mild, building up gradually over several hours, days, or even weeks. People having a heart attack sometimes think it is just indigestion.

Around dinner time, Grandpa said he was going to wash his hands. When my grandmother realized that he had been gone for a long time, she went to check on him. He was was lying, dead, on the bed where he had collapsed.

Grandpa was 75 when he died. I sometimes think that, if he had recognized his symptoms and gone to a hospital, he might have been saved that day. He might have had the opportunity to enjoy another 10 years or more. He might have lived to be 90, like his father. It is also possible that nothing could have saved him that day. We will never know, because he didn't see a doctor.

The Heart, Lung & Blood Institute urges us to pay attention to symptoms and call 911 if a heart attack is suspected. Medical experts recommend chewing an aspirin (after calling for help). The American Heart Association says that if you are with someone who collapses from an apparent heart attack, you should call for help and then perform CPR.

Awareness and fast action can save a life.

1 smart person said something:

  1. I have heard women can experience different symptoms when suffering a heart attack. Which can make it harder to diagnose. We can have an upset stomach, nausea and shortness of breath without chest pains. Upper back and shoulder pain, jaw pain, sweating, light-headed and unusual fatigue are also symptoms.

    Since heart attacks are in your family history it puts you at higher risk. I am also at higer risk. My grandma had 7 heart attacks in her lifetime. My dad and cousin, both smokers, and in their early 50's at the time had heart attacks, and surgery that saved their life.
    For women, heart attacks were much more likely to kill us since it was not seen as a "womens" disease. Thankfully it's a bit better now. Blog posts like yours keep us on our toes.
    Thanks for sharing


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