A heart attack can strike anyone, anywhere, at any time. Many people think it will never happen to them and take their heart health for granted. Then, the next thing they know they’re a patient on the critical care unit for cardiovascular issues. I hope you never need this information and, chances are good, that if you’ve been following my heart health advice over the years, you won’t.
But none of us ever knows when we may find ourselves riding alongside a friend, neighbor, or loved one in an ambulance, praying for their survival. Should this happen to you, or someone you know, I want you to have the information you need so you can handle it. In fact, there are two things you can do immediately if someone has a heart attack that could greatly improve their chances of survival.
Two Things to Do Immediately If Someone Has a Heart Attack
If someone near you has a heart attack, here are two things you want to do right away:
1. Call for an ambulance—immediately! Time is of the essence when you’re dealing with heart failure. People who get to the emergency room within a half hour of a MI have a far better chance of recovery than those who arrive hours later.
2. Give the person an aspirin to chew on until the ambulance arrives. Not ibuprofen, acetaminophen, or another pain reliever—but an aspirin, which helps to thin the blood. Aspirin is a highly effective blood thinner and is a blood clotting treatment.
Once you’re at the hospital, things will move very quickly. Ideally, you want an experienced cardiologist or an emergency room physician who is accustomed to giving clot-busting drugs. But if you’re at a rural hospital, any M.D. is better than no M.D., and it’s far less risky to work with someone who’s not your first choice than it is to be transferred when your condition is acute and unstable.
Now it’s your turn: Have you or someone you know had a heart attack?