DonŐt Ignore Heart Health Over the Holidays
Among medical professionals itŐs known as the Christmas coronary –chest pain and possibly a heart attack thatŐs associated with rich holiday foods, too many glasses of wine, eggnog, overindulgence in salt, and too much stress. Frequently the symptoms are ignored for fear of ruining a long-awaited family gathering or disrupting hectic holiday travel – a sad and sometimes deadly consequence
A review: ItŐs a pain that starts in the middle of your chest, just an ache at first, but getting sharper and radiating down your arm. Is it your heart? Or is it something else? There is no exact set of symptoms, age range, sex, body size or shape for determining if chest pain is related or unrelated to your heart. Let the doctor decide. Coronary artery disease leading to a myocardial infarction (MI) or heart attack is a class four emergency and is still a leading cause of fatality in men and women in the US. DonŐt take chances, no matter how foolish you may feel when you leave the ER with orders to rest and take Mylanta.
What other symptoms can be caused by heart related chest pain? The patient may suffer from any or all of the following symptoms: sweating, shortness of breath, gray pale color, pain radiating to the arm, wrist, neck or jaw, pain gets worse with exertion, nausea or vomiting, extreme weakness, dizziness, rapid or irregular pulse, or feelings of panic and anxiety.
What are the risk factors involved that may lead to heart attack? Smoking, obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, genetic predisposition to coronary artery disease, an inactive life style or high stress levels.
Can I treat my chest pain myself? NO, absolutely not. Herbals, supplements and vitamins along with an improved low fat low calorie diet can add life to your years following a coronary insult. But letŐs not get the cart in front of the horse.
What about repeated bouts of chest pain? In the past the doctor has ruled out a heart attack, is it okay to wait and see what develops? Again, No absolutely not. According to a study done at the Cleveland Clinic the treatment you do or do not receive in the first hour following a serious coronary insult plays a significant role in your ability to recover fully.
The strain of the holidays always brings a fresh crop of patients to the ER suffering chest pain-always a busy place, but I can guarantee you having worked in one a number of years, theyŐre never too busy to find room for an individual suffering chest pain. It was always a sad thing to see someone so unsuspecting fall victim to a heart attack and maybe die from lack of treatment, even worse for the families they leave behind. If you see yourself between the lines donŐt wait, go for help, the festivities will wait. Till next time, Rebecca.