American Heart Association and MSHA remind women of the three “D”s for heart attack symptoms

2/1/2013


JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. – In recognition of National Heart Month, the American Heart Association and Mountain States Health Alliance have a clear message for women: If you have symptoms that could signal a heart attack, don’t DELAY, and don’t DRIVE. DIAL.

Don’t delay

According to Dr. Shobha Hiremagalur, an interventional cardiologist with Mountain States Health Alliance, many women who are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack wait far too long before seeking medical treatment.

“Women don’t recognize their symptoms early enough,” she said. “They wait too long, so by the time they see a doctor they’re much sicker. Their outcomes may not be as good because of that.”

Part of the reason for the delay, Hiremagalur said, is that despite intense educational efforts in recent years, society still tends to think of heart disease as a condition that primarily affects men.

“Women mostly blame it on anxiety attacks. They come to the doctor wanting some medication to relax them, but it turns out they have a blockage in their heart,” she said.

Don’t drive

Another mistake that both women and men often make is trying to drive to a doctor or hospital on their own when experiencing chest pain. This is not only dangerous for other people on the road, but it actually delays treatment for the patient.

“If you call an ambulance, the life-saving treatment can begin as soon as the ambulance arrives,” said Hiremagalur. “You don’t have to wait until you get to the hospital to begin saving your heart muscle from damage.”

Dial

Whether you are a man or woman, old or young, if you experience symptoms of a heart attack, call 911. Key symptoms to look for are:

  • Shortness of breath;
  • Extreme fatigue;
  • Fluttering in the chest (may mimic a panic attack);
  • Sudden sweating or cold sweat (may be mistaken for a hot flash);
  • Back ache between the shoulder blades;
  • Indigestion;
  • Nausea;
  • Chest pressure
  • Crushing pain in the chest; and
  • Pain that radiates down one arm or into the jaw.

MSHA and the American Heart Association have established a strong partnership to promote cardiovascular health not only during the month of February, but throughout the rest of the year as well. In order to achieve the highest level of quality for inpatient heart care, MSHA hospitals participate in the AHA Get With the Guidelines initiative, which holds hospitals to a higher standard than government regulatory agencies.

Johnson City Medical Center and Indian Path Medical Center were recognized in 2012 as Gold-Plus achievers in Get With the Guidelines for Heart Failure. Sycamore Shoals Hospital was recognized as a Gold achiever.

“What that means is that our hospitals are going above and beyond in terms of providing evidence-based heart care to every patient who comes through our doors,” said Ed Stump, MSHA’s assistant vice president of cardiovascular services. “We are proud of what this achievement means for our patients, who have come to expect the highest level of quality from MSHA hospitals.”

MSHA will offer a series of free educational classes on heart health throughout the month of February. The dates and locations are as follows:

Heart Healthy Snack Attack
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 4, noon – 1 p.m.

Heart Health for Seniors
Johnson City Senior Center
Feb. 7, noon – 1 p.m.

Lowering Your Lipids
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 7, noon – 1 p.m.

Taking Control of Your Blood Pressure
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 12, noon – 1:30 p.m.

From Heart Failure to Heart Success
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 12, noon – 1 p.m.

Heart Healthy Tips from a Cardiologist
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 13, noon – 1 p.m.

A Sweet Treat
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 14, noon – 1 p.m.

Heart Healthy Snack Attack
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 15, 4 – 5 p.m.

Heart Valve Issues – An Open and Shut Case
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 18, 6 – 7 p.m.

Eat Your Heart Out
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 19, 6 – 7 p.m.

HeartCoach Cardiovascular Screenings
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 20, 7 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

No Fibbing
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 20, 11 a.m. – noon

Congestive Heart Failure
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 21, 5 – 6 p.m.

Atrial Fib – Get With the Beat
Johnson City Health Resources Center, Johnson City Mall
Feb. 21, 6 – 7 p.m.

Get Heart Smart – Ask the Cardiologist
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 26, noon – 1 p.m.

Healthy Heart Cooking Demo
Kingsport Health Resources Center, Kingsport Town Center
Feb. 28, noon – 1 p.m.

 

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