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Tyrone Hospital emergency room says take fast action at signs of heart attack

Heart attack is a life-and-death emergency. That is why during National Heart Month in February, the staff at the Tyrone Hospital emergency room wants to remind area residents to learn the symptoms of a heart attack and to take immediate action when a person is exhibiting those symptoms.
Basil Selden, M.D., Medical Director of Tyrone Hospital’s emergency room said every second counts when someone is experiencing a heart attack. Fast action can save lives and help prevent disability.
“There are medications that can be administered to stop some heart attacks while they are in progress. But to be effective, these drugs must be given relatively quickly after symptoms appear. That is why people should get to the emergency room right away if they have symptoms of heart attack. “
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense and it is very clear to any observer what is going on. But often 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.
“If you or someone you\’re with has chest discomfort, especially with one or more of the other heart attack symptoms, don\’t wait longer than a few minutes, no more than 5, before calling 9-1-1 for help,” said Dr. Selden.
People with heart attack symptoms should never drive themselves to the hospital. They should have someone drive them to the nearest emergency room right away. Ideally, they should call 9-1-1. Calling 9-1-1- means more immediate intervention because emergency medical personnel can help to stabilize a patient while they are being transported to the ER.
Dr. Selden said the goal in treating a heart attack is to stop or limit the amount of damage to the heart, “A person’s ability to function in everyday life may be affected significantly if they have to live with a damaged heart. That is why it is so important to get a person medical care right away.”
Sometimes a person exhibits heart attack symptoms and people think it is something else so they do not seek medical care. “It is always better to be safe rather than sorry,” said Dr. Selden. “Once people get to the hospital, we can sort out their symptoms and administer the proper care. “
Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
• Chest discomfort that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
• Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
• Shortness of breath that can occur with or without chest discomfort.
• Other signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
Dr. Selden said people need to know that the symptoms of heart attack in women can be different than what is experienced by men. 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.
“It is important for people to be aware of the differences with women so their symptoms are not downplayed or overlooked.”
People also need to know that diabetics may exhibit atypical heart attack symptoms. They may have nausea, sweating, and fatigue and may have no chest discomfort at all.