Be Prepared for a Cardiac Emergency
Take the following emergency actions ahead of time if you or a family member has a heart condition or is at risk for a heart attack:
- Know in advance which hospitals in your area provide 24-hour emergency cardiac care. Tell family and friends where they are located.
- Post emergency rescue numbers, as well as the telephone numbers of your doctors, on or next to each of your phones.
- Advise family and friends to call for emergency care if chest pain lasts more than a few minutes.
What to Do in a Cardiac Emergency
If you suspect someone you’re with is having a heart attack:
- Call 9-1-1 or your local access number for emergency medical service. Tell the dispatcher where you are and that someone is having a heart attack. Don’t hang up until you’re told to do so.
- While waiting for emergency help to arrive, help the victim get into a relaxed sitting position, with the legs up and bent at the knees, to ease strain on the heart.
- Loosen tight clothing around the neck and waist, and be calm and reassuring that medical help is on the way.
- If the victim is conscious, give them an adult aspirin with water.
Talk with your doctor about your individual risk factors and what you can do to lower your risk for heart disease.
- Get regular medical screenings for blood pressure, glucose and cholesterol.
- Make lifestyle adjustments including diet, smoking cessation, stress reduction and exercise
- Know your numbers. It’s important to know your cholesterol level and blood pressure and to understand what the numbers mean
- Take your prescribed medication as recommended by your cardiologist.
But these aren’t the only factors. Your risk increases if you don’t see your doctor regularly and if you don’t address your own medical needs the way that you do for others.