DON’T DELAY. Call 9-1-1
On television, heart attacks are dramatic: Suddenly, someone clutches their chest, cries out, and falls to the ground.
In real life, heart attacks are often subtle — so subtle that many people ignore the symptoms or brush them off as heartburn or everyday aches and pains.
Don’t dismiss what your body may be trying to tell you.
If you have chest pain, call 9-1-1.
During a heart attack, 85 percent of heart damage occurs within the first two hours, so the faster you act, the better your chances of survival and of regaining your full life.
- Early symptoms
- Chest pain, pressure, burning, or fullness
- Shortness of breath
- Pain that travels down one or both arms
- Jaw pain
- Back pain
- Unusual fatigue
Many women don’t have severe chest pain but do report shortness of breath, unexplained fatigue, or pressure specifically in the lower chest.
There are some risk factors you can’t control, like family history, but there are many changes you can make to prevent heart disease and heart attacks.
Chain of survival
Calling 9-1-1 when you experience chest pain or other early heart attack symptoms sets off a chain of survival.
The 5 links in the adult chain of survival
- Early CPR
- Advanced Life Support
- Early Recognition
- Rapid Defibrillation
- Integrated Care
Emergency medical services staff begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if you drive to the hospital. And almost immediately, our team at Community Hospital of the Monterey Peninsula begins communicating with those first responders to prepare for you. This helps achieve a quick “door-to-balloon time” — the time between hospital arrival and intervention. In emergency heart care, time is muscle, meaning every minute counts in reducing damage to your heart.
Are you at risk for a heart attack?
The more of these risk factors you have, the greater your chance of having a heart attack.
- Family history of heart disease
- High blood pressure
- High blood cholesterol
- Being overweight or obese
- Physical inactivity
If you experience one or more risk factors, talk to your doctor.