is a heart attack?: According to the AHA
(American Heart Association; based on statistics
from 1996) 1.1 million new and recurrent heart attacks
occur per year in the United States. There are about
800,000 new heart attack survivors per year, according
to the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS).
Following are additional important statistics provided
by the AHA and NCHS:
There are 12 million victims of
angina, heart attack and other forms of coronary
artery disease (CAD) living in the USA.
5.8 million are male and 6.1 million
Approximately 225,000 people die,
including 125,000 who die suddenly or before they
reach a hospital. Most of these deaths are due
to lethal irregular heart beats.
Heart Disease is the number one
cause of death in the USA. This is followed by
cancer, stroke, lung disease and accidents.
from 1986 to 1996 the death rate from CAD declined
are the symptoms of a heart attack? A heart
attack may be the first symptom of coronary artery
disease in many patients. In others, it may be preceded
by days, weeks, months or even years of angina.
Classic or commonest signals of a heart
attack consists of pressure- like, squeezing, or
tightness feeling in the center of the chest that
may radiate or move to the left shoulder and arm.
In some, it may move to both shoulders and arms,
the jaw, or between the shoulder blades in the back.
If this is merely an angina warning, the symptom
may go away in a few minutes and then return.
Once a coronary artery is totally
blocked, a heart attack takes place and the chest
discomfort becomes more intense and persistent.
The chest discomfort or pain may be accompanied
by shortness of breath, unexplained anxiety (a sense
of impending doom), weakness, marked fatigue, cold
sweats, paleness and a feeling of skipped heart
beats. It must be recognized that only one or some
of these symptoms may accompany the chest discomfort
of heart attack. Also, the symptoms may not be typical
in some cases and shortness of breath, cold sweats
or marked and sudden fatigue may be the only symptom.