WICHITA FALLS (KFDX/KJTL) According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, someone has a heart attack in the United States every 40 seconds! In a county where fast food choices are plenty and obesity rates are skyrocketing, heart attacks are unfortunately a common occurrence in Wichita Falls.
According to the American Heart Association, Cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death in the U.S. In the event of a heart attack, it’s often caused by a blockage of fat buildup or cholesterol, which creates a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart.
The common signs of a heart attack are:
-A tightness or squeezing pressure in the chest or arms that travels to the jaw or back
-A sudden cold sweat
Yet, according to the CDC, 1 in 5 heart attacks are silent, meaning damage to the heart is being done without the person knowing it.
United Regional cardiology coordinator, Lisa Turner also says not all heart attacks are alike.
“Some women have pain, different than men, they sometimes have more nausea and just kind of tiredness…especially diabetics, they have different kind of pain just because they’re used to kind of different things happening to the body and so they don’t often recognize when they’re having chest pain.”
During a time where love is supposed is in the air, it’s important to know there are things that can mimic a heart attack, including a broken heart.
“There is a broken heart syndrome or Takotsubo is what it’s called and it’s basically it’s a stress induced heart failure. We see it in patients that are just undergoing a huge amount of stress, if they’ve had a loss of somebody or just lots of different things going on in their life, it can present as a heart attack.”
Those who are most at risk for heart attacks are men, African and Mexican Americans, diabetics, smokers and people with a BMI over 30. While those who are 65 or older are more at risk for fatal heart disease, a troubling trend has been seen nowadays.
“We see people in their 30’s and 40’s a lot just because of their family history.”
The moment you think you’re having a heart attack:
-Call 911 immediately: EMT’s will have the necessary equipment to keep you stable
-Do not drive yourself to the emergency room: the average Door-to-Balloon time at United Regional is 64 minutes. That means in just an hour, a patient who enters the ER via ambulance with symptoms of a heart attack gets taken up to the cardiac catheterization lab and has a “balloon” inflated in the blocked artery. The national average is 90 minutes.
-Lastly, know your medical and family history to tell your doctors
Also, to lessen your chances of having a heart attack, Turner suggests:
“You can stay away from smoking, keep an eye on your diet, exercise, eliminate the other risk factors that are there so that you don’t have a culmination of factors.”
For a link to our previous story on United Regional’s cardiac lab, click here.