Most of you already know that another dear, dear, dear friend of mine, great husband, doting father and gracious friend suddenly passed away last weekend after suffering a heart attack. He was a successful man in all aspects of life and his passing, like those of my other friends this past year, was untimely at best.
Earlier this week, while I was sharing how much Geoff meant to me with a client who did not know him, I expressed to her that even when times were toughest for him, he was there for me. He was a constant force in urging me to make things right with those with whom things were wrong; he called me “brother” and did so to those he loved and wanted me to be there for my own before it was too late. He was the first one there in my darkest hour and I was blessed to be able to have him see that I made it through – stronger, thanks to him.
At his memorial service on Friday there were countless stories such as this and, as his nephew said in his eulogy, NONE were exaggerated. But why am I explaining all of this to you? The answer lies at the top of this article…the saddest part of this story is that what “took” Geoff from “us” was what he gave the most of…his heart. And, while I know this is an impossibility, I don’t want anyone else that I love and care about to suffer such a tragedy. So, without any frivolity, here are the most common symptoms associated with heart attacks, how you can lower your risk and what to do if you experience any of the symptoms.
Men and Women may experience and or all of the following:
1. Mild to strong discomfort in the center of the chest, which may be prolonged, or come and go.
2. Chest discomfort may feel like pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
3. Discomfort may occur in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw and/or stomach.
4. Shortness of breath, before or with chest discomfort.
5. Cold sweats, nausea and/or lightheadedness.
According to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, women (in whom heart disease is the number one killer) are more likely to experience shortness of breath, nausea, vomiting, back or jaw pain, indigestion, flulike symptoms and shoulder pain.
Every 34 seconds someone suffers a heart attack. It results from when arteries that supply blood to the heart become thicker and harder, due to a buildup of cholesterol and plague, therefore significantly reducing or completely cutting off the supply of oxygen to the heart.
Some tips on how to help reduce your risk:
- Get yearly physicals
- Don’t smoking – just after one year of quitting you’ll cut your risk in half
- Modify your diet
However, if you find yourself or a loved one experiencing any ONE of the above symptoms administer a Bayer Aspirin, lie down and remain motionless and calm and call 9-1-1 immediately.