Many people in Washington die or are disabled from heart attacks and strokes because they don't get life-saving treatment in time. A report released in October 2008 by the state Department of Health, "Emergency Cardiac and Stroke Care in Washington," explains why many people don't get life-saving treatments.
The report, commissioned by the Washington State Emergency Medical Services and Trauma Steering Committee, a Governor-appointed group, included representatives of:
- Professional associations.
- Emergency medical services providers.
- 9-1-1 agencies.
- Emergency physicians.
It recommends adopting the American Heart Association Guidelines for Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation and Emergency Cardiovascular Care as the state standard for cardiac and stroke care:
Web Resources for Emergency Personnel
Heart attack and stroke are medical emergencies. If you think that you or someone else is having a heart attack or stroke, call 911 immediately. Even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, have it checked out. Every minute matters! There are treatments that can save lives if they are given as soon as possible.
Common Signs Of a Heart Attack
- Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
Discomfort in other areas of the upper body
- Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
Shortness of breath
- May occur with or without chest discomfort.
Other signs may include:
- Breaking out in a cold sweat.
Women and people with diabetes may experience different symptoms. Women and people with diabetes who have experienced nerve damage may not feel strong chest discomfort. They are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, and back or jaw pain.
Risk Factors for Heart Attack
Risks you can't change
- Having already had a stroke, transient ischemic attack, or heart attack
- Personal or family history of high cholesterol or Familial Hypercholesterolemia
- Race and ethnicity
- History of preeclampsia during pregnancy
Risks you can change
- High blood pressure (hypertension)
- Using tobacco or being exposed to tobacco smoke
- Diabetes, pre-diabetes, or metabolic syndrome
- High cholesterol numbers that are not in the healthy range, including total cholesterol, LDL (bad cholesterol), HDS (good cholesterol), and triglycerides
- Carrying too much weight, especially around the waist
- Not enough physical activity