More than 1.5 million people will have a heart attack in any given year. What is worse, heart disease accounts for 25% of all deaths in the U.S. every year. That’s roughly 610,000 people who die from heart disease annually! If you don’t want to be a statistic, you need to know how to survive an acute coronary event, like a heart attack or arrhythmia (electrical problem in the heart). Here are some ways to survive severe heart problems.
Recognize the Symptoms of Heart Attack
Most heart attacks are not instantly fatal. If you know the signs and symptoms of a heart problem, you’ll know when to get help. The first few hours following a heart attack are critical to preventing long-term complications and death. It is important to note that women and men don’t experience heart pain the same way, so take note of the differences below and don’t hesitate to call 911 if you have any of the following symptoms.
- Chest pain that also affects just one arm or the jaw (usually the left side)
- Chest tightness (described as “an elephant on my chest”)
- Shortness of breath
- Nausea, indigestion, or abdominal pain (more common in women)
- Lightheadedness or dizziness (more common in women)
- Cold sweat
- Fatigue (sudden and unexplained)
Treat Heart Attack
If you think someone is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately. You don’t have to wait for EMS to arrive to start treatment though. You can do any or all of the following things to help treat a heart attack and decrease its severity.
- Administer aspirin. The recommended dose is 325 milligrams (that’s about 4 “baby” aspirin) and it should be chewed. It won’t taste great, but absorption is faster when aspirin is chewed.
- If there is defibrillator (AED) nearby, retrieve it in case you need to use it.
- Have the person lie down to reduce the work that the heart needs to do. Keep them as calm as possible.
- Keep the person warm, this will keep blood vessels open and improve tissue perfusion.
- DON’T TAKE ANY CHANCES. If you are in doubt about whether it is really a heart attack or not, it is better to get medical attention. Let the experts figure out what is going on, that’s their job. This is one case where it is better to be safe than sorry.
BPC-157 peptide has been shown to Prevent Heart Attack
The best way to survive a heart attack is to prevent it in the first place. Scientists are currently investigating a compound known as BPC-157, which is known to reduce electrical abnormalities in the heart and may be useful in preventing heart pain from turning into full cardiac arrest. In the future, people may be able to buy BPC-157 to use as a preventative agent against heart disease. Heck, they may even be able to buy BPC-157 like any other over-the-counter supplement or medicine to have around just in case. You can learn more about BPC-157 research here;
Until then, you can help prevent a heart attack by doing the following things.
- Stop smoking. Smoking is the worst thing you can do for your heart.
- Limit alcohol intake. A little alcohol may be beneficial to the heart, but too much will lead to serious heart issues and even heart attack.
- Manage diabetes if you have it. Diabetes causes serious heart problems.
- Be physically active. People who exercise, even if it is just walking a couple times of day, are much less likely to have a heart attack than those who sit for prolonged periods. The more you move, the better.
- Get enough sleep. Too little sleep is dangerous to heart health.
- Treat sleep apnea. Not only does sleep apnea interfere with sleep quality, it causes a low-oxygen condition known as hypoxia, which can lead to serious heart damage if left untreated for too long.
- Eat right. Eat nutrient-rich fresh foods rather than process foods. Choose high-fiber foods, avoid trans fats, cut down on sugar, and limit your consumption of red meat.
- Manage your blood pressure. If you blood pressure is too high, get it under control. If eating right is not enough to keep your blood pressure under control, see your doctor about medications that can help.
Your Heart Won’t Heal
The reason that heart attack is so problematic is that the heart has little, if any, capacity to heal after injury. It can form scars, like your skin does, but scars aren’t functional and thus can’t help the heart do its job of pumping oxygen and nutrients to the rest of the body. Once it is damaged, the heart never fully recovers. Avoid the damage in the first place with the preventative measures above and seek to limit damage by doing the right things if you do experience a heart attack. Time is of the essence following a heart attack, so don’t hesitate to get help.