How to treat a heart attack

Heart disease is the most common cause of death in Ireland accounting for one-third of all deaths and one-fifth of all premature deaths. Heart failure is a chronic condition which affects 90,000 people living in this country and is responsible for 20,000 hospital admissions each year.

A heart attack is a scary experience that can, naturally, prove fatal so knowing what to do if you or someone you are with has one is essential. Here are some quidelines.

1. Watch out for the signs. Although they can sometimes be very subtle – and may not always show up – it’s important to know the warning signs of heart attacks. Common symptoms include: pain in the centre of the chest), shortness of breath, cold sweats (with pale skin), lightheadedness/dizziness, moderate-to-severe fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain and a sensation of severe indigestion. Not everyone will experience the same symptoms, or the same severity.

2. Call an ambulance. If you suspect that you or someone with you is having a heart attack, immediately dial 999 or 112. It’s better to be safe than sorry.

3. Waiting for the ambulance. Put the person in a seated position (back at a 75 degree angle) with their knees bent. Their back should be supported. Keep them from moving around and loosen any clothing around their neck. Reassure them that help is on the way.

Ask if they carry nitroglycerine. People with a history of heart problems are often prescribed this vasodilator which causes large blood vessels to relax so more oxygenated blood can reach the heart. If the person is not allergic, give them an aspirin to chew.

4. CPR. If the person stops breathing, initiate CPR. CPR involves chest compressions to help push some blood through the arteries, and rescue breathing (aka mouth-to-mouth). If you are not trained in CPR, stick with chest compressions as mouth-to-mouth is a waste of time if administered incorrectly.

Check out this video to learn more: Hands Only CPR

Take care,

The Team at Gallivan Financial

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