Warning Signs for Emergency Cardiac Conditions
Sudden Cardiac Arrest
Nearly 50% of the cardiac deaths are said to occur due to Sudden Cardiac Arrest (SCA). SCA is not heart attack. Most people do not understand the difference between SCA and heart attack. Heart attack has symptoms such as chest pain and difficult breathing, and some warning signs. But SCA may have no symptoms and occurs without warning. Patients who have had a heart attack, or a previous cardiac event, are at the greatest known risk of SCA. However, SCA can happen to a person of any age, race or gender. It can even happen to young athletes who seem in excellent physical condition. It can occur even in those persons who have had no previous known heart disease. SCA causes the heart to stop pumping blood to the brain and vital organs, which in most cases leads to death. But there is a lot you can do to prevent SCA and/or to prevent sudden death due to SCA.
Heart Attack Warning/Signs
- 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. Often people affected aren't sure what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that can mean a heart attack is happening:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest 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 with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness
- 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.
- Learn the signs, but remember this: Even if you're not sure it's a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 1-0-2 or your emergency response number.
- Calling 1-0-2 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. Emergency medical services (EMS) staff can begin treatment when they arrive. EMS staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has stopped. It is best to call EMS for rapid transport to the emergency room.
- Immediately call 1-0-2 or your emergency response number so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you.
Stroke Warning SignsIf you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay!
- Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
- Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or 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
- A TIA, or Transient Ischemic Attack, "warning stroke" or "mini-stroke" that produces stroke-like symptoms but no lasting damage. Recognizing and treating TIAs can reduce your risk of a major stroke. The usual TIA symptoms are the same as those of stroke, only temporary. The short duration of these symptoms and lack of permanent brain injury is the main difference between TIA and stroke.