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  • Writer's pictureCw Young

Put Your Heart Into It

Updated: Mar 3, 2023

February is American Heart Month


Passionate About Life


On June 18, 2022, local football coach Scott Ivey had the beginnings of a heart attack and eventually suffered full-blown cardiac arrest. Thankfully, he recognized the signs of a heart attack because of required football training as a coach. He quickly got to Hardin Medical Center (HMC) in Savannah, Tennessee. The coach has a lot more living to do due in large part to the capable medical team in the accredited Chest Pain Center.


What Is a Heart Attack?


A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infarction or acute coronary syndrome, occurs when the blood flow to a part of the heart is blocked, usually by a clot in a coronary artery. Heart attacks can cause damage or death to the heart muscle.


The heart is a vital organ that pumps blood throughout the body, so maintaining heart health is crucial for overall well-being. Heart disease is one of the leading causes of death worldwide, with 697,000 people in the United States dying in 2020. Someone in the US has a heart attack every 40 seconds[1]. Almost as many women as men die of heart disease annually in the United States.[2] Scary statistics, to say the least.


What Are the Symptoms of a Heart Attack?


Symptoms of a heart attack can include chest pain or discomfort, shortness of breath, nausea, profuse sweating, and pain in the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach.[3]With those symptoms, one would think you would know if you were having a heart attack, but not all myocardial infarctions have the same symptoms, and some people have no symptoms.


On that fateful day, Coach Ivey experienced chest pain that he thought was indigestion, but it did not go away after taking antacids. Then he started to sweat profusely, and that symptom triggered knowledge he had learned from cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) classes and first aid classes as a football coach. Coach Ivey knew one of the indicators of a heart attack was sweating. He did not delay in getting to HMC Emergency Room, which is an accredited chest pain center.


Source: National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention[AS1]





What Do I Need to Know About Heart Attacks?


If you or someone you know is experiencing heart attack symptoms, it is vitally important to seek medical attention immediately. Call 911. The faster treatment is received, the less likely severe damage will occur to the heart muscle. And the chances of survival are greater too.


Before help arrives, the person should stay as calm as possible and rest. If you know the person has a history of heart disease or risk factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, diabetes, smoking, or is obese, and it is best to seek medical attention as quickly as possible. If the heart stops, as Scott Ivey's did, cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or electric shock (defibrillation) will be used to restart the cardiac rhythm. After Scott's cardiac arrest, the skilled medical professionals at Hardin Medical Center worked on resuscitating him for nearly 45 minutes. If Scott had not been at the hospital during his heart attack, in his 'widow maker,' he could have died.


What Is Cardiac Rehabilitation?


If you've had a heart attack, cardiac rehab is a professionally supervised, customized program of exercise, education, and counseling to help you recover from a heart-related illness or disease. HMC can wholly take care of cardiac patients from the onset of a heart attack via their accredited chest pain center to full recovery and beyond with an accredited cardiac rehab program. To learn more about the details of cardiac rehabilitation, click here.


What Do I Need to Know About Heart Health Before a Heart Attack?


There are several ways to promote heart health to live a long, healthy life without heart problems. All of these tools are promoted in cardiac rehab as well.


· Regular physical activity: Exercise can help lower blood pressure, improve cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease. For some people, regular physical activity can also help maintain a healthy weight. And the type of exercise doesn’t matter, just get moving! Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, such as brisk walking, most days of the week.

· Healthy diet: A diet high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and lean protein can help lower cholesterol and blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease. Avoid foods high in saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol, such as fried foods, processed meats, and full-fat dairy products.

· Quitting smoking: Smoking is a major risk factor for heart disease, so quitting can significantly reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Since quitting can be difficult, seeking help or using nicotine replacement therapy can increase your chances of quitting for good.

· Managing stress: Stress can cause the body to release hormones that can increase blood pressure, which can harm the heart. Try to find healthy relaxation methods to manage stress, such as yoga, meditation, or deep breathing exercises.

· Regular check-ups: Seeing a healthcare provider regularly is important for routine monitoring of blood pressure, cholesterol, and blood sugar levels, which can increase the risk of heart disease. Preventative medicines such as statins and blood pressure medication can be prescribed to help reduce certain risks. If you have any of these conditions, it is vital to work with your healthcare provider to manage them. They can provide personalized recommendations for maintaining heart health.


Scott Ivey said he could never repay the HMC heart care team for saving his life. Just like they put their hearts into helping every patient that walks through HMC's doors, he's putting his heart into staying healthy.

[1] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Heart Disease Facts. Reviewed 10/14/2022. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/facts.htm. [2] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. Women and Heart Disease. Reviewed 10/14/2022. Available at: https://www.cdc.gov/heartdisease/women.htm. [3] American Heart Association. Heart Attack, Stroke, and Cardiac Arrest Symptoms. Available at: https://www.heart.org/en/about-us/heart-attack-and-stroke-symptoms.

[AS1]Most of the information on the CDC and ATSDR websites is not subject to copyright, is in the public domain, and may be freely used or reproduced without obtaining copyright permission. Proper credit/source cited. https://www.cdc.gov/other/agencymaterials.html

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