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Toolbox Talk: How to recognise a heart attack and protect yourself!

by , 03 June 2015
Did you know that heart attacks are the number one disease of both men and women and about half of these are fatal?

It's important your employees know the signs and are able to react when someone's having one.

Conducting a toolbox talk on the topic can help them do that...


Heart attacks: What you need to tell your employees during your next safety talk


You probably didn't know that ventricular fibrillation of the heart that occurs before a person can get to an emergency room is what causes most of the deaths from heart attacks.

But here's what's good to know: Those who get to the emergency room in time have a good chance of survival with modern treatment.

After all, they're more susceptible to procedures like coronary angiogram and PTCA (coronary balloon angioplasty) and clot dissolving drugs to quickly open blocked arteries to restore the circulation to your heart and limit heart muscle damage.

The earlier you get these medications, the higher the benefit and the less damage is done!

Let's look at the following example!   

Even though the symptoms of a heart attack can be vague and mild, remember that heart attacks producing no symptoms or only mild symptoms can be just as serious and life-threatening as heart attacks that cause severe chest pain. Too often people attribute heart attack symptoms to "indigestion," "fatigue," or "stress," and don't get immediate medical attention.

The risk? Here's why you shouldn't delay treatment:

Get medical attention quickly if you have any symptoms of a heart attack. Early diagnosis and treatment saves lives, delaying or putting it off can be fatal. If you delay treatment, you could permanently reduce the function of your heart because of extensive damage to the heart muscle. You can also die from the sudden start of arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation.


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What's the danger?

Knowing the early warning signs of a heart attack is critical for fast diagnosis and treatment. Many heart attacks start slowly. You might not even know you're having a heart attack. Heart attack symptoms vary greatly, and even a person who has had a previous heart attack may have different symptoms in the next heart attack.

Here's how to protect yourself

Although chest pain or pressure is the most common symptom of a heart attack, you may have a few other symptoms like:

1. Pain, fullness, and/or squeezing sensation of the chest;
2. Jaw pain, toothache, headache;
3. Shortness of breath;
4. Nausea, vomiting, and/or general epigastric (upper middle abdomen) discomfort;
5. Sweating;
6. Heartburn and/or indigestion;
7. Arm pain (more commonly the left arm, but may be either arm);
8. Upper back pain;
9. General malaise (vague feeling of illness); and
10.No symptoms (approximately one quarter of all heart attacks are silent, without chest pain or new symptoms and silent heart attacks are especially common among patients with diabetes mellitus).

Go for regular check-ups, make sure you can prevent becoming a heart statistic and avoid all foods, for instance, that can cause you a heart-attack!


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