Monday, January 26, 2015

American Heart Association Warns of Snow Shoveling Health Hazards

The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems. However, the association warns that the risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling may increase for some, stating that the combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart.

People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.

“For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, the increased workload on the heart from activities such as shoveling of heavy snow, can put them at higher risk for heart attack,” said Patrick Thomas, MD, FACC, Fellow of the American Heart Association and President of the Putnam County, NY Region American Heart Association.

Thomas is a cardiologist with NYU Langone at Hudson Valley Cardiology, “Before you do anything, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for your particular situation.”

To help make snow removal safer, the American Heart Association has compiled a list of practical tips.

•             Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
•             Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.  
•             Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
•             Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1
•             Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
•             Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.
•             Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where it is clear 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 with or without chest discomfort. 
•             Other signs 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.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. It is best to call Emergency medical services (EMS) for rapid transport to the emergency room. EMS staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. If you can’t access 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.

Heart attacks can cause sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating, or beats irregularly, failing to pump enough blood. One moment, a person can be walking and talking, and the next moment they collapse, lifeless. They will be unresponsive, not breathing or only gasping. Their lips will start to turn blue and skin will become pale. Quick recognition and fast action is the key to saving a life.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Bystanders can help cardiac arrest victims survive, if they act fast. First, call 9-1-1 and start CPR right away. Then, if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 9-1-1 and finds an AED.

Hands Only CPR is effective in saving lives during cardiac arrest. Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse,
(1) Call 9-1-1; and
(2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” (100 beats per minute) until help arrives.


To learn more about CPR or find a local class, visit www.heart.org/CPR .

Friday, January 23, 2015

Score with Heart Healthy Snacks for the Big Game

New York teams may be out of the playoffs but that’s no reason to cancel that Super Bowl party! Just don’t sack everyone’s healthy New Year’s resolutions with a Super Bowl spread filled with fried, fattening or sugary foods. Score a touchdown with a game party buffet full of heart healthy foods to give everyone a healthy option while celebrating the big game! Offering healthy food choices can help people maintain a healthy weight, even when celebrating the biggest game of the year.


First Half Strategy – First down: start off with salad and veggies. Fill up on the healthier foods first then add in a few treats on your plate. Go with healthier appetizers like cut veggies and hummus, fat-free yogurt dips or guacamole made with avocados. According to new research published in the Journal of the American Heart Association, eating one avocado a day as part of a heart healthy, cholesterol-lowering moderate-fat diet can help improve bad cholesterol levels in overweight and obese individuals. Use baked, not fried and whole grain versions of your favorite chips and crackers. Try low-fat cheeses with whole grain crackers or toasts, and choose assorted low-sodium or unsalted nuts, which are high in good fats and protein.

Halftime Rally – When planning your halftime buffet, throw the penalty flag on the worst party foods like fried Buffalo wings (up to 35 grams of fat per serving), takeout personal pepperoni pan pizza (over 60% of sodium daily allowance), nachos with cheese (30% of your daily fat). Opt for baked, not fried buffalo tenders, whole wheat pizza with veggies and chicken or bean & low-fat cheese burritos in a whole wheat wrap and you’ll still have energy for that halftime touch football game! Try turkey or chicken and bean chili with lots of veggies cooked in and low-fat cheese and low-fat sour cream on the side.

Second Half Plan – Offer seltzer and no sugar-added fruit juice beverages as “mock-cocktail” alternatives to alcohol-based drinks. Alcohol can raise blood pressure and is full of empty calories. Make portion control part of your game plan. Smaller plates and calorie counting apps can help you keep track of the foods you are consuming so you don’t go overboard. Know your portions. For example, a serving of chicken breast (3 ounces) is about the size of a deck of cards and an ounce of cheese is about the size of your index finger. A cup of pasta is the size of a fist and half a cup of rice is a cupcake wrapper-full. For more portion tips, check out www.heart.org/PortionDistortion.

The American Heart Association recommends a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole-grain, high-fiber foods, and fat-free and low-fat dairy most often. Keep total fat intake between 25 and 35 percent of calories, with most fats coming from sources of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats such as fish, nuts, seeds and vegetable oils most often. Use naturally occurring, unhydrogenated vegetable oils such as canola, safflower, sunflower or olive oil most often.

Chicken & Black Bean Tostada
Why offer healthier options? Over 149 million Americans, or 67 percent of adults 20 and older, are overweight or obese. By 2015, experts project that 75 percent of adults will be overweight, with 41 percent being obese. Nearly one-third of U.S. children and adolescents are overweight or obese and at higher risk for heart disease and stroke. Making small changes to diet and lifestyle can help prevent heart disease and stroke, the number one and five killers.

The American Heart Association has partnered with the Walmart Foundation to offer Simple Cooking with Heart, a nationwide program aimed at changing the way people think about food. Try these healthy variations of classic party recipes and get more cooking tips from the American Heart Association and free recipes and cooking videos at www.heart.org/simplecooking .

Try these great recipes:


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Thursday, January 8, 2015

Volunteers Rally for Dutchess-Ulster Heart Walk Event

Nearly 100 volunteers from over 80 local companies and organizations of the American Heart Association gathered at Marist College Thursday for the annual kickoff event for the AHA’s Heart Walk events. As personal stories were shared, one message was made clear: heart disease and stroke can strike at any time to people of any age.

Dr. Daniel O’Dea, Chief of Cardiology at Vassar Brothers Medical Center, and President of the Heart Center, kicked off the 2015 Heart Walk as chair the American Heart Association’s biggest annual fund raiser.

O’Dea encouraged volunteers, team leaders, businesses and community leaders to sponsor and form teams to join the Heart Walk. Two events will be held locally. The Dutchess Heart Walk will be held on March 14th at Vassar College and the Ulster event is set for March 21st at Dietz Stadium, Kingston. Registration is online at www.dutchessulsterheartwalk.org


Poughkeepsie resident, Dave Binger (2nd from right) and Stormville resident, Tammy Brennan (3rd from right), were announced as Inspirational Honorees for the event. Binger was born with a serious congenital heart defect and experienced many heart problems throughout his life. He finally had a heart transplant in 2013. 

Brennan was only 44 when she experienced odd sensations and blotches on her feet. When she collapsed at work, unable to walk or talk—she was diagnosed with a stroke and further tests showed a rare heart tumor. She had open heart surgery to repair it. The blotches were actually blood clots from the tumor.

The story of Seth Erlebacher, this year’s Memorial Honoree, was shared by his widow, Melissa (above right). Erlebacher, a former IBM employee, died of a heart attack at only age 46. She participates in the Heart Walk and the AHA’s BetterU program to live a longer, healthier life for herself and her two daughters.

Events like the Heart Walk fund the AHA’s critical research and awareness programs that help save lives from cardiovascular diseases like heart disease and stroke – the number one and four killers in the U.S. The American Heart Association funds 2,100 scientists around the United States and currently funds four Hudson Valley researchers with grants totaling $1.12 million.

Companies interested in supporting the Heart Walk with sponsorship or teams should call the American Heart Association at 845-905-2120 or email ryan.michael@heart.org.

The Heart Walk is sponsored nationally by Subway, and locally by Health Quest, the Heart Center, MidHudson Regional Hospital of Westchester Medical Center, Laerdal Medical, Adams Fairacre Farms, Townsquare Media, Southern Dutchess News and Hudson Valley Magazine. 

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Take Steps to Prevent a Holiday Heart Attack

The holidays are a time of cheer and good will, but it is also peak time for "holiday heart attacks." December and January have the highest death rates from heart attack.

Cold weather and snow shoveling can cause acute heart problems. The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems. However, the risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling may increase for some, because of the combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart. Cold weather affects blood vessel constriction and "stickiness" of platelets.

People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Arm exertion causes blood pressure to go up dramatically when shoveling snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.

“For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, the increased workload on the heart from activities such as shoveling of heavy snow, can put them at higher risk for heart attack,” said Patrick Thomas, MD, FACC, FAHA, President of the Putnam Region American Heart Association. Thomas is a cardiologist with NYU Langone at Hudson Valley Cardiology.

“Before you do anything, check with your doctor to make sure it’s safe for your particular situation.”

Other factors that could lead to more heart attacks are seasonal stress, depression, over indulging on food and drink, and a less healthier lifestyle.

It's important to eat healthy throughout the year, not overeat and exercise regularly to keep your heart healthy. Exercise will also control weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

People often wait too long to get help when signs of a heart attack are present. They don't want to upset people during the holidays or cause a fuss. But prompt treatment can save their heart from permanent damage--and save their life. Call 9-1-1 as soon as symptoms are present. Do not assume it's indigestion. The symptoms are similar to heart attack.

If you're not a heart patient or don't have risk factors for heart disease or stroke and you have to shovel snow, here are some tips:
  • Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart.
  • Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
  • Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.
  • Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. 
  • When possible, simply push the snow.
  • Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
  • Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.
  • Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.
Everyone should learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. 

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where it is clear 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 with or without chest discomfort. 
  • Other signs 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.
Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. It is best to call Emergency medical services (EMS) for rapid transport to the emergency room. EMS staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. If you can’t access 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.

Heart attacks can cause sudden cardiac arrest--when the heart stops beating.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Bystanders can help cardiac arrest victims survive, if they act fast. First, call 9-1-1 and start CPR right away. Then, if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 9-1-1 and finds an AED.

Hands Only CPR is effective in saving lives during cardiac arrest. Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse,
            (1) Call 9-1-1; and
(2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” (100 beats per minute) until help arrives.

Watch a one-minute video at www.handsonlycpr.org 
To learn more about CPR or find a local class, visit www.heart.org/CPR .

Be prepared and make this holiday season a happy and healthy one!

Related: http://abcnews.go.com/Health/shovel-snow-heart-attack/story?id=27027683

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Sign Up For National Wear Red Day February 6, 2015

It’s almost time to “go red” with the American Heart Association to raise awareness and funds to fight heart disease and stroke, the nation’s number one and four killers. Local businesses and organizations are being encouraged to join National Wear Red Day for Women on Friday, February 6, 2015. Participants can “go red” on February 6th by wearing a red dress, scarf, jacket, shirt, tie, hat or other item to raise awareness and show support of all women who have been touched by heart disease or stroke. Registration is open at www.wearredday.org to receive free materials and red dress pins before February.



“Hundreds of local businesses, hospitals, towns, schools have already signed up to wear red to help raise awareness and funds to fight the number one killer of women – cardiovascular disease,” said Betty Fanelli, Go Red For Women Chair, “Every dollar raised makes an impact in the fight against heart disease.”

National Wear Red Day is a part of Go Red For Women - the American Heart Association’s campaign to save women’s lives from heart disease and stroke. Participants wear red, donate $5.00 to join the Go Red For Women® movement and receive a red dress pin or, new this year, a Go Red For Women wristband.

“We want to see the Hudson Valley Go Red in February! In addition to making donations to support the American Heart Association, you can light up your office buildings in red, or your store windows, main streets and homes! Every red light, every red heart, every red dress should be a reminder to women to fight their number one killer—heart disease,” she said.

James Lyons, MD, FACC
More women than men die of heart disease and stroke. Almost 420,000 women die annually from cardiovascular diseases--that’s more female lives taken than from the next four causes of death combined, including all cancers. Heart disease is the number one killer of women age 25 and older. Stroke is women’s number three killer - women account for 61 percent of all stroke deaths annually. Currently, some eight million women in the U.S. are living with heart disease, yet only one in six women believe that heart disease is her greatest health threat. In fact, 90 percent of women have one or more risk factors for developing heart disease.

“Wear Red Day’s life-saving messages are for women of all ages. All women should know the symptoms of heart attack and stroke, and seek treatment quickly if they experience symptoms,” said James Lyons, MD, FACC, Heart Failure Program Director with the Hudson Valley Heart Center and American Heart Association’s Board President, “But younger women should be aware that they have the power to prevent heart disease. By living heart healthy now, they’ll live longer, stronger, healthier lives. More than 80% of heart disease in women can be prevented by simple lifestyle changes.”

Wear Red Day’s goal is to change awareness, provide tools to make healthy changes, and save women’s lives. Women can find important health information at www.goredforwomen.org.


For more information or to sign up your company or organization, call the American Heart Association at 845-905-2123 or visit www.wearredday.org online.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Hudson Valley Cardiologist Attends AHA's Scientific Sessions in Chicago

Dr Patrick Thomas, MD, MBA, FACC, FAHA, attended the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Chicago in November. Dr. Thomas is the American Heart Association Putnam Board President and cardiologist with NYU Langone at Hudson Valley Cardiology.

Dr. Thomas was recently elected as a Fellow of the National American Heart Association. The achievement recognizes scientific and professional accomplishments, and volunteer leadership and service.

Below is a brief Q & A with Dr. Thomas about this year’s event.

Dr. Patrick Thomas, Putnam AHA Board President
The American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions has the best science and is the leading cardiovascular conference for basic, translational, clinical and population science, in the United States.  

Scientific Sessions by the numbers:

·         Five days of comprehensive, unparalleled education
·         More than 17,000 attendees
·         global presence from more than 100 countries
·         1.5 million medical professionals who participate virtually in lectures and discussions
·         5,000 presentations
·         1,000 invited faculty
·         4,000 abstract presentations; all from the world’s leaders in cardiovascular disease
·         200+ exhibitors showcasing the latest cardiovascular technology and resources.

Programming is designed to improve patient care by communicating the most timely and significant advances in basic, clinical, translational and population health research, spanning the full spectrum of cardiovascular disease from a variety of perspectives, from prevention, through diagnosis and through treatment. Sessions lets AHA lead the way to discovery in the fight against cardiovascular disease and stroke.

Q: Why did you attend the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions in Chicago?

Dr. Thomas: I am fortunate to attend the big national meetings once every two or three years. Most meetings I go to are small format, focused on a narrow topic like cardiac imaging, or medicine or interventions. It’s like going to a steakhouse or seafood restaurant. But the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions meeting is like the biggest buffet in the world! You really get a good sense of everything happening across the board in cardiovascular disease science and care.

Q: What happens there?


Dr. Thomas: There are pre-clinical presentations where scientists conducting early, basic science present their research to a large audience. These discoveries might translate into advances in treatments years later or help get their projects funded for the future.
I spend my time there mostly on clinical presentations. One of the most exciting parts of the AHA meetings are the two-hour, late-breaking clinical trials. These are the latest, greatest presentations of up-to-date science that, literally upon publication, change how we practice cardiology on a daily basis.

Q: What were the most impactful clinical sessions for you?

Dr. Thomas: One of the most important things that we’ve talked about in cardiology for three or four decades was using statins to lower cholesterol to lower heart attacks and ultimately, death. Over a generation, it was the most important medicine to save lives. At the Sessions, there were two very exciting trials, both on the lipid lowering front.

One was called “IMPROVE-IT” which showed for the first time, a non-statin way to lower cholesterol. It’s called Zetia and when combined with a statin, was shown to lower cholesterol and the risk of cardiac events. This was the first time that was ever shown. Unfortunately, cardiology history is littered with the many meds that have failed…niacin…etc. but now with this Zetia, it’s the first time we’ve seen further reduction in heart attack and stroke risk for those already on a statin. It was a study my office was intimately involved with since many of my patients were in the study. It was the second biggest clinical trial in history, in terms of number of patients enrolled.

The other exciting news was using non-medicine approaches to lower cholesterol using monoclonal antibodies - these are special proteins produced by cells in a lab, and these proteins are injected into the skin every few weeks or so. They can rev up the immune system to reduce cholesterol and it showed an incredible reduction in LDL, the bad cholesterol. It’s not FDA approved yet, but it’s in stage 3 clinical trials. My group is involved in one of those clinical trials to see if they can reduce cardiac events with monoclonal antibodies.

NY Medical College Researchers funded by AHA
Q: Why does your practice participate in clinical trials?

Dr. Thomas:One of our doctors, in his training 20 years ago, was actively involved in clinical trials, and very interested in advancing science and to do that, you have to get patients involved early on. Things like Lipitor…etc, would never have been approved without clinical trials/studies like we participate in. We have over a dozen clinical investigations going on.

Q: What else does Scientific Sessions offer the nearly 20,000 medical professionals who attend?

Dr. Thomas:A driving factor is networking with other cardiologist. At the smaller national or regional meetings, maybe 30-100 cardiologists attend. Scientific Sessions has tens of thousands of peers in the same building. We set up lunches or dinners or meetings, share research, discoveries, and patient care tips.


The American Heart Association Invests in Research

Since 1949, the American Heart Association and American Stroke Association have invested more than $3.7 billion in heart disease and stroke research. Donors have funded lifesaving research that has contributed to breakthrough advances, including techniques and standards for CPR, the first artificial heart valve, implantable pacemakers, cholesterol inhibitors, microsurgery and drug-coated stents. In all, the American Heart Association has funded 13 Nobel Prize winners, nine of whom won for work funded by the association.

The American Heart Association currently funds four Hudson Valley researchers at NY Medical College at a level of $1,122,000 currently. There are 44 researchers funded in New York State at a level of $10,290,000 and 43 in Connecticut at $9.3 million. To learn more, visit www.heart.org . 

For all the highlights from Scientific Sessions visit http://newsroom.heart.org


American Heart Association Warns of Heart Risks When Shoveling Snow

The American Heart Association says that for most people, shoveling snow may not lead to any health problems. However, the association warns that the risk of a heart attack during snow shoveling may increase for some, stating that the combination of colder temperatures and physical exertion increases the workload on the heart.

People who are outdoors in cold weather should avoid sudden exertion, like lifting a heavy shovel full of snow. Even walking through heavy, wet snow or snow drifts can strain a person’s heart.


 “For people with existing heart conditions like heart failure, high blood pressure or cholesterol, the increased workload on the heart from activities such as shoveling of heavy snow, can put them at higher risk for heart attack,” said James Lyons, MD, FACC, cardiologist with The Heart Center and Board President of the American Heart Association.

To help make snow removal safer, the American Heart Association has compiled a list of practical tips.

·                 Give yourself a break. Take frequent rest breaks during shoveling so you don’t overstress your heart. Pay attention to how your body feels during those breaks.
·                 Don’t eat a heavy meal prior or soon after shoveling. Eating a large meal can put an extra load on your heart.  
·                 Use a small shovel or consider a snow thrower. The act of lifting heavy snow can raise blood pressure acutely during the lift. It is safer to lift smaller amounts more times, than to lug a few huge shovelfuls of snow. When possible, simply push the snow.
·                 Learn the heart attack warning signs and listen to your body, but remember this: Even if you’re not sure it’s a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1
·                 Don’t drink alcoholic beverages before or immediately after shoveling. Alcohol may increase a person’s sensation of warmth and may cause them to underestimate the extra strain their body is under in the cold.
·                 Consult a doctor. If you have a medical condition, don’t exercise on a regular basis or are middle aged or older, meet with your doctor prior to the first anticipated snowfall.
·                 Be aware of the dangers of hypothermia. Heart failure causes most deaths in hypothermia. To prevent hypothermia, dress in layers of warm clothing, which traps air between layers forming a protective insulation. Wear a hat because much of your body’s heat can be lost through your head.

Heart Attack Warning Signs
Some heart attacks are sudden and intense — the “movie heart attack,” where it is clear 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 with or without chest discomfort. 
·                 Other signs 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.

Calling 9-1-1 is almost always the fastest way to get lifesaving treatment. It is best to call Emergency medical services (EMS) for rapid transport to the emergency room. EMS staff can begin treatment when they arrive — up to an hour sooner than if someone gets to the hospital by car. Patients with chest pain who arrive by ambulance usually receive faster treatment at the hospital, too. If you can’t access 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.

Heart attacks can cause sudden cardiac arrest, where the heart stops beating, or beats irregularly, failing to pump enough blood. One moment, a person can be walking and talking, and the next moment they collapse, lifeless. They will be unresponsive, not breathing or only gasping. Their lips will start to turn blue and skin will become pale. Quick recognition and fast action is the key to saving a life.

WHAT YOU CAN DO
Bystanders can help cardiac arrest victims survive, if they act fast. First, call 9-1-1 and start CPR right away. Then, if an Automated External Defibrillator (AED) is available, use it as soon as possible. If two people are available to help, one should begin CPR immediately while the other calls 9-1-1 and finds an AED.

Hands Only CPR is effective in saving lives during cardiac arrest. Hands-Only CPR has just two simple steps. If you see a teen or adult suddenly collapse,
            (1) Call 9-1-1; and
(2) Push hard and fast in the center of the chest to the beat of the disco song “Stayin’ Alive” (100 beats per minute) until help arrives.


To learn more about CPR or find a local class, visit www.heart.org/CPR .