How to Deal with a Heart Attack? Know the Basics

The rising numbers of patients with CHD, or coronary heart disease, in India, is alarming. According to the Indian Heart Association, 50% of all heart attacks are occurring to Indians under the age of 50 years. Unhealthy lifestyle habits, pollution, genetics, diseases like hypertension & diabetes – all are contributing to the increased risk of heart attacks among the younger population. While precautionary measures like regular exercising, a healthy diet, regular blood pressure monitoring with BP check machine are only a step closer to reducing your risks, it is still important to be prepared to respond to a heart attack. There is seldom anything as sudden as a heart attack. Being equipped with knowledge or tools to address it at the earliest can help save a life. Especially if there is someone at home at a higher risk of the same, you should be aware and ready to respond effectively. Here’s what you should know: 

Call for emergency help It is easy to get flustered in times of a crisis, but it is important to keep cool for something this critical. The first rule of emergency response – always calls for medical help. Have the contact details of your nearest emergency center (preferably one with 24-hour availability) displayed right next to your landline, or stored on your mobile number. Call for medical help as soon as you have guided the patient to a safe place for resting. 

Rest comfortably As you wait for help to arrive, you need to ease the stress on the ailing heart. Make the patient as comfortable as possible; seat them such that the head and shoulders are well-supported, and knees are bent to encourage blood flow throughout the body. You should additionally loosen any clothing or accessories that could restrict the flow of blood. Aim to remove buttoned ties, arm cuffs, rings, and wristwatches. 

Give Aspirin Always ensure you have aspirin at home, stored in easy-to-access areas. It is a popular medicine for fever and headaches, but it can also assist in reducing the pressure on a patient’s heart muscles by breaking down blood clots.  If the patient is conscious, administer a full-dose aspirin medication and have the patient chew on it slowly so that it gets absorbed into the bloodstream quickly. 

Administer CPR Person losing consciousness during a cardiac arrest is not uncommon. You should be aware of how to get the blood flowing to the heart and the brain. CPR is one of the most basic procedures to administer if a person is losing consciousness. It’s important for the brain and the heart to receive oxygenated blood to stay conscious, and thereby implement other more effective measures. Medical help would usually come with an automated external defibrillator or AEDs, however, while making the phone call, you can request to bring the same. Patients with angina need special care. Give them their angina medication and calm them down. Monitor their health as they rest. You may even buy a stethoscope online to monitor their heartbeat. Being knowledgeable and having a presence of mind can go a long way to save someone’s life. Don’t skip the beat, be ready to respond well, any day, any time.