Every year, there are more than 1.2 million new coronary attacks in the United States1 and more than 70,000 heart attacks in Canada.2
According to the World Health Organization, coronary heart disease kills more people globally than any other cause of death.
What exactly is a heart attack? The organ you call your heart contains muscles much like the other muscles in your body. Although your heart pumps blood to vessels throughout your body, it also has its own network of blood vessels that give it oxygen and nutrients, called your coronary arteries. A “heart attack” or myocardial infarction occurs when the blood-flow to your heart muscles (in your coronary blood vessels) is interrupted and oxygen-starved cells in your heart actually die.
Heart Attack Stats
• Monday is the most common day of the week (Saturday comes in second), and 10 a.m. is the most common time of day for having a heart attack or stroke.
• You stand a greater chance of surviving a heart attack during the day than at night.
• One out of 50 men ages 35 to 54 report having had a heart attack, compared with one out of 100 women at the same age, and one in 10 people over the age of 67.
• You stand a greater chance of suffering a heart attack if you’re watching your favorite sports team lose.
References: http://health.msn.com/health-topics/articlepage.aspx?cp-documentid=100214450, http://www.nytimes.com/2009/11/03/health/research/03patt.html, http://www.gallup.com/poll/139382/index-documents-heart-attack-patterns.aspx
Where heart attacks used to kill the majority of those who experienced them, more than 66 percent of heart attack victims survive today.1 The sooner you enter the emergency room after having a heart attack, the better your chances of diagnosis and survival.
Knowing the warning signs of a heart attack and being brave enough to make the 9-1-1 telephone call can make the difference between you becoming one of the survivors or one of the casualties. The American Heart Association (AHA) identifies several warning signs for heart attacks, but they say some signs are more prevalent in women, and some are more prevalent in men:
• Chest Pain: Most but not all heart attacks involve discomfort in the middle of the chest that lasts for more than a few minutes or that goes away and comes back—a symptom that is more prevalent in men. The AHA says the feeling can resemble “uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.”
• Shortness of Breath: Even without chest pain, being short of breath can indicate a heart attack.
• Upper Body Discomfort: Beyond chest pain, you may experience pain in your neck, jaw, back, stomach or one or both of your arms as well. (These symptoms and the symptoms in the next bullet point are more common for women having heart attacks.)
• Other Symptoms: Nausea, lightheadedness, a feeling of indigestion or a cold sweat.
So what do you do if you think you’re having a heart attack? Dial 9-1-1 right away. The emergency medical services staff can check your symptoms immediately, revive you if your heart stops, and get you to the hospital much more quickly than if you drove yourself.