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Act in Time
The American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and
Blood Institute have launched a new "Act in Time" campaign to increase
people's awareness of heart attack and the importance of calling 9-1-1
immediately at the onset of heart attack symptoms.


                      Dial 9-1-1 Fast
                      Heart attack and stroke are
life-and-death                                                 emergencies -- every
second counts. If you see or                                    have any of the
listed symptoms, immediately call                                     9-1-1. Not all
these signs occur in every heart attack or stroke. Sometimes they go
away and return. If some occur, get help fast! Today heart attack and
stroke victims can benefit from new medications and treatments
unavailable to patients in years past. For example, clot-busting drugs
can stop some heart attacks and strokes in progress, reducing disability
and saving lives. But to be effective, these drugs must be given
relatively quickly after heart attack or stroke symptoms first appear. So
again, don't delay -- get help right away!
Statistics
Coronary heart disease is America's No. 1 killer. Stroke is No. 3 and a
leading cause of serious disability. That's why it's so important to reduce
your risk factors, know the warning signs, and know how to respond
quickly and properly if warning signs occur.



Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the "movie heart attack,"
where no one doubts what's happening. But most heart attacks start
slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Often people affected aren't sure
what's wrong and wait too long before getting help. Here are signs that
can mean a heart attack is happening:

Chest discomfort. 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: These may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or
lightheadedness        
As with men, women's most common heart attack symptom is chest pain
or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to
experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness
of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain.

If you or someone you're with has chest discomfort, especially with one
or more of the other signs, don't wait longer than a few minutes (no more
than 5) before calling for help. Call 9-1-1... Get to a hospital right away.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving
treatment
. Emergency medical services staff can begin treatment when
they arrive -- up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital
by car. The staff are also trained to revive someone whose heart has
stopped. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually
receive faster treatment at the hospital, too.

If you can't access the emergency medical services (EMS), have
someone drive you to the hospital right away. If you're the one having
symptoms, don't drive yourself, unless you have absolutely no other
option.


Stroke Warning Signs
The American Stroke Association says these are the warning signs of
stroke:


Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on
one side of the body    
Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding    
Sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes    
Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination    
Sudden, severe headache with no known cause
If you or someone with you has one or more of these signs, don't delay!
Immediately call 9-1-1 or the emergency medical services (EMS) number
so an ambulance (ideally with advanced life support) can be sent for you.
Also, check the time so you'll know when the first symptoms appeared.
It's very important to take immediate action. If given within three hours of
the start of symptoms, a clot-busting drug can reduce long-term disability
for the most common type of stroke.


Cardiac arrest strikes immediately and without warning. Here are
the signs:

Sudden loss of responsiveness (no response to tapping on shoulders).
No normal breathing (the victim does not take a normal breath when you
tilt the head up and check for at least five seconds).  
If these signs of cardiac arrest are present, tell someone to call 9-1-1
and get an AED (if one is available) and you begin CPR immediately.  

If you are alone with an adult who has these signs of cardiac arrest, call
9-1-1 and get an AED (if one is available) before you begin CPR.

Use an AED as soon as it arrives.
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