Not in vain the heart is compared to the ticking of a clock. When it works with precision, it is an incredible little machine. But when this is not the case, it can become a time bomb. In the case of the 46th vice president of the United States, the bomb exploded, approximately five times, beginning with a first heart attack at age 37 and ending with a heart transplant procedure that lasted 7 hours in March 2012, at the age of 71 years
"Dick Cheney is a perfect example of how far the field of cardiology has advanced over the past 15 years," says Dr. Marrick Kukin, director of the Heart Failure Program at St. Luke's-Roosevelt Hospital in New York City. and professor of medical clinic at Columbia University's College of Physicians & Surgeons.
"Here you have a man who has had two angioplasties, a by-pass surgery, has received statins, beta-blockers, has been implanted a defibrillator (which detects and treats arrhythmias to bring the heart to a regular rhythm ), an assist device in the left ventricle (which pumped blood throughout your body for two years) and has received a heart transplant.
All these discoveries are good for you since with the evolution of the field of cardiology The knowledge of physicians about the crucial symptoms that patients should never underestimate has also evolved, especially if they have a history of cardiovascular disease.
"The heart has several areas and levels where you may have problems. You can have ventricular problems (arrhythmias), pumping problems (coronary heart disease), mechanical problems (weakness of the heart muscle) and structural problems (rupture of the aorta), says Dr. Kukin. "If you feel something strange, do not try to self-diagnose Look for medical attention, "he advises.
The big question: What kind of doctor should you consult? Should you call your family doctor or 911? Do you need a routine exam or should you go to the emergency room? Keep reading and we will tell you what steps you should take for each symptom.
1. Oppressive chest pain along with nausea, vomiting and sweating
This is the classic symptom of a heart attack. Some symptoms are very obvious, but the variants can be subtle. Also, keep in mind that they do not always predict a heart attack.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Call 911. Even if your symptoms do not seem to put your life at risk, it is not up to you to make the diagnosis. They could get worse quickly.
2. Oppression in the chest that feels as if you were sitting on an elephant
People define their experiences differently. For one person it is pain, while for another it is pressure. Regardless of how you call this curious feeling in your chest, do not risk it.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: if the pressure persists for more than 20 minutes, call 911. For periods of shorter discomfort, call your regular doctor for instructions; Depending on your symptoms, I could send you to the emergency room or ask you to go on an appointment to perform a series of tests.
3. Back pain, usually in the upper part, that looks like a tearing sensation
It could be a muscle tear. Or it could be something much more serious: the rupture of the aorta. Johnatan Larson, the author Rent, the success of Broadway, died due to the rupture of an aneurysm in the aorta artery.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: if the pain begins during or after exercise or after trauma or injury, go to your regular doctor, especially if it extends to another part of the body (except the chest). If back pain suddenly appears, persists for more than 20 minutes and is accompanied by nausea, call 911.
4. Tingling in the arms
Another book definition of a heart attack. The numbness begins in the chest and radiates down the left arm. It can also appear on the neck, right arm, teeth and stomach.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: if it's just a tingling, go to your regular doctor. But if it persists for more than half an hour and triggers other symptoms (that appear to be unrelated to arm movement) such as dizziness and nausea, call 911.
5. Excessive fatigue when you perform your usual tasks
This is very common in women. If you are doing the usual chores of the home or doing errands and, suddenly, you are too tired, it could be a symptom of a heart problem.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: make an appointment with your regular doctor immediately. It could be that you are getting old, or that you have stress or even lack of sleep. But it could be something worse. Your doctor can help you discover the root cause and direct your treatment.
6. Shortness of breath during any activity, such as walking
Another rather significant sign that something could go wrong. Especially when it is accompanied by pain or pressure that disappears when you suspend activity. Also, having trouble breathing while lying on the bed is a possible sign of heart failure.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Sitting in bed may make you feel better. If this does not happen and you still have difficulty recovering your breath or breathing quickly for more than 30 minutes, call an ambulance.
This is a sign that people always dismiss. It is an easy excuse to minimize the situation. It's even more confusing if you belch and you feel better. But the truth is that indigestion can be a serious sign of coronary heart disease.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Take Tums, Mylanta or Nexium and then look at the clock. If the discomfort does not go away in the course of half an hour, call your doctor and ask him whether or not to go to an emergency room.
Swelling, or edema in medical terms, occurs when the heart is not pumping properly. If you feel weak and exhausted while walking or swelling your ankles and you also experience difficulty when lying down at night, you have a complete set of suspicious symptoms.
WHAT YOU SHOULD DO: Make an appointment with your doctor immediately.
9. Irregular heart rhythm (abnormal palpitations) and arrhythmias (acceleration of heartbeats)
Popular survey: Should you call an ambulance or emergency service?
If you have symptoms of a heart attack (or some other life-threatening emergency), a good friend might say, "I'll take you to the emergency room, it will be faster than waiting for the ambulance." Even worse, if you are alone, you may think you can drive to the emergency room to save time. There may also be some level of denial with respect to calling 911. If you drive or have someone drive you, your emergency may not be as serious. An ambulance... well, that's a serious matter.
Do not fall into any of these traps. If you experience any of the symptoms that warrant going to an emergency room, call 911 and let the ambulance take you. These are the reasons:
* Time saving is a myth. Yes, you must wait for the ambulance to arrive. But once it arrives, emergency technicians are trained to provide on-site medical care.
* Once you are on your way to the hospital, emergency technicians will alert the emergency service of your symptoms and your condition. The ambulance will enter the ambulance area and you will be transferred directly into the hands of the people you most need according to the case.
* If a friend takes you to the emergency room, you should explain your case to the reception staff. Even if they are quick to respond, you will be losing valuable minutes as they evaluate your case and determine what you need.