What is a Heart attack?
A heart attack is also called a myocardial infarction (MI) or an acute myocardial infarction (AMI). Many heart attacks are caused by a complete blockage of a vessel in your heart, called a coronary artery. A blocked coronary artery prevents oxygen-rich blood and nutrients from reaching a section of the heart. If blood cannot reach the heart muscle, it will die. Treatment within six hours can save heart muscle. By getting medical treatment quickly, you can reduce this damage, but once a section of heart muscle dies, the damage lasts forever.
Warning signs of a Heart attack:
- Pressure, fullness, tightness, or pain in your chest, lasting 5 minutes or longer.
- Constant indigestion-like discomfort.
- Chest pain that moves to your shoulders, arms, neck, jaw, or back.
- Lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting, sweating, or a sick stomach.
- Unexplained shortness of breath.
- Unexplained anxiety, weakness, or tiredness.
- Palpitations, a cold sweat, or pale skin.
Not everyone will have the classic symptoms. For some people, a heart attack feels like a burning sensation, similar to indigestion or heartburn, and the pain may be in only a small area of the chest. Some patients may not feel anything at all.
Heart attack symptoms in women may be different from those experienced by men. Many women who have a heart attack do not know it. Women tend to feel a burning sensation in their upper abdomen and may experience lightheadedness, an upset stomach, and sweating. Because they may not feel the typical pain in the left half of their chest, many women may ignore symptoms that indicate they are having a heart attack. Many people put off getting the care that could save their lives because they think that these signs (also called heart attack symptoms) do not mean a heart attack.
Although chest pain is usually the most common sign, some people have heart attacks without having chest pain.
That is why it is important to be aware of the other warning signs. Anyone who has any of these signs for 5 minutes or longer should see a doctor right away. Call an ambulance or have someone drive you to the nearest hospital emergency room. Because you could be having a heart attack, do not drive yourself. It could be dangerous to you and others.
What is a stroke?
A stroke is an injury to the brain that may also severely affect the body. A stroke happens when blood supply to part of the brain is cut off or when there is bleeding into or around the brain The brain’s nerve cells need a constant supply of oxygen and sugar (glucose), which are carried by the blood. When blood fails to get through to parts of the brain, the oxygen supply to those areas is cut off.
This is called ischemia. Without oxygen, brain cells die. The longer the brain is without blood, the more severe the damage will be. The area of tissue death that results from ischemia is known as an infarction.
The effects of a stroke may be mild or severe, short-term or permanent. The symptoms of a stroke last for more than twenty-four hours. Some people have strokes and recover completely within a few days, while others may never recover.
How severe a stroke is depends on:
- What part of your brain is affected
- How much brain cell damage there is
- How quickly your body can restore blood to the injured parts of your brain
- How quickly the healthy parts of your brain can take over for the injured area
Warning Signs for a Stroke. Symptoms typically include:
- Weakness or numbness of your face, arm, and leg on one side of your body.
- Sudden blindness or dimming of eyesight, especially in only one eye.
- Loss of speech, slurred speech, or trouble understanding speech.
- A recent change in your personality or mental ability.
- Trouble swallowing.
- Headache (usually severe and comes on quickly) or changes in the pattern of headaches, including migraines.
- Unexplained dizziness, staggering or impaired balance, unsteadiness or sudden falls, especially if you have the above warning signs.
If you notice one or more of these symptoms, don’t wait… get medical attention immediately!
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