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Everyone loves February with its abundance of hearts, candies and good feelings. But a growing number of people – beyond the medical field – are recognizing it as heart health month. Understanding the workings of the cardiovascular system could mean the difference between life and death.

“Heart attacks manifest in different ways for different people,” said Advance ER physician Dr. Brian King. “That’s why it’s important to know all the symptoms in case only one or two are present and the patient doesn’t show the classic symptom of crushing chest pain.”

To help you better understand heart attacks, or myocardial infarction, Advance ER has put together these tips to help you spot a problem and know what to do next.

Here are 6 warning signs of a heart attack you shouldn’t ignore:

  1. Chest discomfort – any kind of pressure, pain, squeezing, fullness or discomfort felt in the chest that lasts or that comes and goes.
  2. Discomfort in other areas – any pain or discomfort in one or both arms, neck, back, shoulders, stomach or jaw.
  3. Shortness of breath – accompanying discomfort or by itself.
  4. Nausea
  5. Lightheadedness
  6. Cold sweat

What should I do first if I suspect a heart episode is occurring?

Act fast. It’s better to find out later you were wrong than to wait too long, allowing damage to occur to the heart.

Call 911 immediately. An EMS responder can begin helping you right away. If you are close to Advance ER, go there immediately. Every minute counts.

What are the top tips for preventing a heart attack?

Exercise remains at the top of the list of preventative measures. “If you are at work all week, getting enough exercise can be a real challenge,” said Dr. King. “Try discussing with your boss possible ways that you and your coworkers can add exercise to the workday.” According to Forbes, a more active staff is a more productive staff.

  • Walking meetings – have your committee walk and talk, rather than sit in a meeting room.
  • Walking lunches – get a buddy or earbuds and take a brisk walk during lunch break. Don’t forget to switch into supportive shoes.
  • Fitness campaigns – partner with your company medical provider for a great fitness campaign with personal goals and prizes for achievements.
  • Gym memberships – research group memberships to the gym to be given as a benefit.
  • Office exercises – have a personal trainer come in and demonstrate simple and fast stretches and resistance exercises that can be done inconspicuously in offices or cubicles.
  • Timeless tricks – take the stairs rather than the elevator, park farther away, ride your bike to work – whatever you can do to add steps and exercise to your workday.

Other than exercise, eating a healthy diet is another key preventative step to take. Five fruits and vegetables a day and 6 glasses of water is the minimum goal. Visit your physician for a heart check-up, especially if you have a family history of heart problems or if you have high blood pressure, diabetes or obesity. If you are overweight, talk to your physician about a healthy weight loss plan. These are all positive ways to protect the health of your heart.

Where can I get fast help with no waiting?

Advance ER has pioneered No Wait service that puts the needs of our patients first. A board-certified physician is available to help you immediately and a cardiologist is available* for a consultation through our unique SPECIALIST NOWTM program.

For more information, call Park Cities at (214) 915-0428 or Galleria Area at (214) 238-6270.

* Access to specialists through Advance ER’s SPECIALIST NOWSM program is contingent on the specialist’s availability.

 

Meet Dr. Brian King:

Brian King, M.D., is board-certified in emergency medicine and has two decades of experience in treating acute and minor medical conditions. Dr. King received his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School, Dallas, TX. He completed his residency in emergency medicine at Wake Forest University, Winston-Salem, NC.

With a focus on open communication, Dr. King believes in taking the time to listen to his patients to formulate a personalized treatment plan. Dr. King is an active member of the Dallas community and enjoys time spent outdoors and with his family.