What to do if someone has a heart attackOver 200,000 occur every year
Each year in the UK, over 200,000 people have heart attacks. Around a third of these will die before reaching the hospital.
Know the signs
Most people usually know that chest pain can be a symptom of a heart attack, but this can vary from a mild discomfort to severe.
Signs of a heart attack usually include:
- Pain in the centre of the chest
- Chest pain which spreads to the jaw, neck and down one or both arms (often the left arm)
- Shortness of breath
- Feeling sick and/or vomiting
- Feeling light headed or dizziness
- Pain in the back or stomach
- Profuse sweating
- Lips turn blue
- Gasping for air
It's important to realise that the signs of a heart attack can differ from person to person. Chest pain can vary from a mild discomfort in the centre of the chest to pain which is often described as a heavy pressure, crushing or tightness.
In others, especially women, the chest pain may be a minor but is accompanied by some of the other signs. Either way, a heart attack is a medical emergency and has to be acted on immediately.
What to do
If you think someone is having a heart attack, don't delay.
- Call 999 or 112 for an ambulance
- Sit the person down in a comfortable position
- If they are conscious, give them a 300mg aspirin tablet to chew slowly
- Don't leave them alone. Be prepared to adminisister CPR if they become unconscious and have trouble or stop breathing.
This article was published on Thu 27 May 2010
Image © Marin Conic - Fotolia.com
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