Cardiovascular Disease: Know The Symptoms



• Chest discomfort

• Upper body discomfort

• Shortness of breath

Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack” where no one doubts what’s happening. But most heart attacks start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort, causing people to wait too long before getting help. If you have these symptoms, get to the emergency room. Both men and women most commonly first feel chest pain or discomfort, but women especially often suffer shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Calling 911 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment.


Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like “the sky is blue.” Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 911. If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away call 911 and get them to the hospital.

Check the time so you can report when the first symptoms appeared. A clot-busting drug called tissue plasminogen activator (tPA) may improve the chances of getting better, but only if you get help right away. A TIA or transient ischemic attack is a “warning stroke” or “mini-stroke” that produces stroke-like symptoms. TIA symptoms usually last a few minutes. People who have TIAs have a high risk of a major stroke.

Other symptoms to recognize:

Sudden numbness or weakness of the leg

Sudden confusion or trouble understanding

Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes

Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination

Sudden severe headache with no known cause


• Sudden loss of responsiveness

• No normal breathing

First call 911 and start CPR immediately. Hands-Only CPR can be as effective as CPR with breaths. Learn how to save a life by attending CPR training. Contact the Mogollon Health Alliance at 472-2588 for details on an upcoming class.


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