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Chest pain? 
DON’T DELAY. Call 9-1-1

chest pain

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
  • Nausea
  • 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

chain of survival

  1. Early CPR
  2. Advanced Life Support
  3. Early Recognition
  4. Rapid Defibrillation
  5. 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.

  • Smoking
  • Family history of heart disease
  • High blood pressure
  • High blood cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Physical inactivity
  • Stress
  • Aging

If you experience one or more risk factors, talk to your doctor.

How can you reduce your risk of heart attack?

Stop smoking

If you smoke, quit. If someone in your household smokes, encourage them to quit. Our Kick the Nic program can help, (831) 883-5660.

Choose good nutrition

A healthy diet is one of the best weapons against heart disease. Our Nutrition Therapy department offers programs and classes including: 

Weigh of Life 

Supermarket Tour

Manage diabetes

People with diabetes are two-to- four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease. Find out about our Diabetes Program, call (831) 649-7220.

Reduce cholesterol

Improved diet and physical activity are the first cholesterol fighters. If those don’t reduce your “bad cholesterol”, medication may be the key. Find out more from our Advanced Lipid Management Program, (831) 625-4765.

Be physically active

Getting at least 30 minutes of physical activity 5 or more days a week can help lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, and keep your weight at a healthy level.

Lower high blood pressure

High blood pressure can damage and weaken your arteries. Doing all of the above can help you lower your blood pressure.

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