Heart disease is the leading cause of death among men and women in the United States affecting over 630, 000 Americans annually. For individuals at risk of suffering a heart attack, there are various steps one can take to minimize complications.
Dr. Rohit Arora, a cardiologist at Captain James A. Lovell Federal Health Care Center in Chicago, explains the procedures you should follow if you believe you may be suffering from an impending heart attack.
What to Do Before the Arrival of the Ambulance
Individuals should immediately dial 911. Dr. Rohit Arora urges you not to contact your physician directly and instead opt for an emergency line.
Afterward, he recommends chewing an Aspirin (or other blood thinning medicine) to thin out your blood. Caution: if you have taken erectile dysfunction medicine such as Viagra, avoid taking Aspirin at all costs. These pills dilate your blood vessels – combining blood vessel dilatation and blood thinning medication can reduce your pressure to a dangerously low rate.
While you wait for an ambulance to arrive, stay calm. Prepare the following notes to inform the paramedics of your current health:
- Allergy history
- Complete medical history
- List of medications
Once this is ready, lie down and stay calm – lying down will facilitate blood flow to your heart. Use a cushion to elevate your feet higher than your chest to improve blood flow even further.
What to Do Once the Ambulance Arrives
Dr. Rohit Arora stresses the importance of notifying the paramedics of your allergy and medical history as well as the list of medications that you had previously prepared. Make sure to inform them if you have already taken Aspirin or any other medication that day.
Ask the paramedics to take you to a hospital with a catheterization laboratory. Individuals will most likely need an angiogram – a medical imaging technique test used to detect heart problems. Going to a hospital with the proper equipment will ensure that you are given the best possible care.
What to Do at The Hospital
Once you arrive at a hospital and are taken into charge by a doctor, Dr. Rohit Arora urges you to start by informing the doctor of any previous cardiac history you may have. It is imperative that individuals provide all necessary information so that the doctor can properly assess their health. Similarly, he suggests educating your physician of any bleeding-related issues as you may require blood thinners.
Wrapping It Up: Stay Calm
No matter what the situation may be, Dr. Rohit Arora reminds you to stay calm during a heart attack. Avoid worrying about any issues you may be dealing with at home or at work and concentrate on staying as calm as possible.
Remember that you are in the right hands – trust your doctor and follow their guidance to give yourself the best chance.