Just as you did, I too, received over the years tens of emails describing the signs of one of these dangerous conditions. However, because they were either too scientific for my layperson mind or too long for my attention span, I never really grasped the differences between the three, except that they were to be taken very seriously, to call 911 immediately and consult our physician. These wise rules which could save one’s life remain true and what follows is strictly my personal share with you and what I summed up as the result of research and personal experiences. If you don’t know it already, this was my disclaimer:)
The inspiration for this post is a friend of mine, former business partner, with whom I had an appointment. He was always on time and the fact that he stood me up was upsetting. Oh!!! It wasn’t even a romantic date! When I arrived home, a few hours later, on my answering machine (yes, good old times) there was a message from him. His voice sounded slurry and frankly, I thought he might have been drunk, but I knew him well enough to know that he wouldn’t drink that much before lunch (may be after.) He was apologizing for feeling fuzzy, lightheaded and asked me to call him and reschedule. When I called his office, his partner told me that over the day his secretary noticed his speech getting slurred and ONE side of his face drop. She asked him if she should call 911 but he refused for a few hours, until it got worse and his colleagues called 911 despite his opposition. Diagnosis: HE HAD A STROKE!!!!
Unfortunately, he waited too long and he is now in a long-care facility for the rest of his life. This is a case when minutes count!!!
To avoid the long term effects of a stroke it is important to ACT FAST and call 911 or go to the Emergency Room IMMEDIATELY!!!
Here are some signs that one might have a STROKE, and how to remember it FAST (www.stroke.org):
1. F –Face –ask person to smile.If one side of the face drops, it is a bad sign!!!
2. A–Arms–ask person to raise both arms. Does ONE arm drift downward? Not a good sign!!!
3. S — Speech — Is the person’s speech slurred or strange? Time to go to E.R.!!!
4. T— Time to act. If you observe ANY of these signs call 911 immediately.
Acting fast, it could mean not only saving a life but life after an untimely treated stroke. We all know how devastating that could be.
What happens when one has a stroke? When the blood supply to the brain is CUT or reduced depriving the brain tissue from
oxygenation, within minutes BRAIN CELLS BEGIN TO DIE. (http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stroke)
HEART ATTACK OR HEARTBURN BASICS
Rule #1: When in doubt check it out immediately with your physician or go to the E.R. or call 911!
Here are some data which might be useful to know (http://www.medicalnewstoday.com):
Risk factors for heart attack:
Smoking, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, overweight. ALL or one of these puts you at a higher risk for heart attacks.
Sings one should not ignore!!!
SUDDEN onset of tightness, pressure, squeezing, burning discomfort in CHEST, THROAT, NECK or EITHER ARM.
Even more alarming, if in addition one experiences sudden onset of pressure, nausea, vomiting, fainting sensation and shortness of breath.
Go for immediate help!
I know that many times some of these symptoms are present, the person panics and thinks it is a heart attack when it is the good old, heartburn that haunts millions! Again, to be safe I would panic and call 911 and go to the ER to ONLY find out it’s heartburn. The risk of NOT checking immediately is too high to take. It is truly a matter of life and death.
However, I found interesting this easy tip shared by dendenin in a post dated November 1, 2012 (www.medicalnewstoday.com)
Take 1/2 glass water and stir in a level teaspoon of bi-carb (baking soda). Drink it down.
If it might be a digestive issue (acid reflux/ heartburn) you will feel better. You will BURP immediately.
My comment: Make an appointment with a gastroenterologist to check your digestive system.
However if the symptoms described above continue for longer than ten minutes, you don’t burp, or you still feel worse, seek immediate attention.
I confess the angina word always confused me. Is it serious? Should I worry, what is it exactly and what are some of the symptoms?
Angina means that your heart doesn’t get enough BLOOD supply. When this happens one experiences one or all of these symptoms: pain in shoulders, arms, jaw, back…and this feels like indigestion to confuse us more!
Yes, after reading that angina meant I don’t get enough supply of blood to my heart, I took this very seriously, as it should be taken.
What would I do if experiencing any of the above?
Knowing too little and thinking I know it all could be dangerous, so, I’d go IMMEDIATELY run to be checked by a professional (the semi-Gods, called M.D.s who spent ten years of their lives studying so they could diagnose us correctly:)… and I would trust them, but in the case of heartburn or reflux diagnosis especially, I would go for a second opinion. Based on personal experiences, I am a promoter of second opinions, even third opinions in our diagnosis, but not when one’s face is twisted and their speech is slurred or one feels pressure in the chest. NO, under those circumstances, I’d trust the first semi-God to restore me to health.
Better safe than sorry!!!