Readers ask two important questions this week:
What should you do if you feel chest pain?
Listen to your body. Some causes of chest pain are not dangerous, but others - such as a heart attack - can be deadly. Do not ignore significant chest pain because it may be a warning to seek medical attention immediately.
Time is one of the biggest obstacles to saving your life when you have chest pain. Don't waste it, wondering what to do.
It's simple: Call 911.
Trained emergency medical technicians can begin treatment immediately and transmit important information to the emergency room that can save time and your life.
People with chest pain arriving at Western Baptist's emergency room are taken immediately to the Chest Pain Center for immediate and comprehensive treatment of heart attack symptoms.
Know the signs of a heart attack:
* Crushing, squeezing, burning feeling in the chest
* Feeling of pressure in the chest
* Pain which spreads to the jaw, arms, neck, or back
* Pain which lasts longer than 15 minutes
* Pain while you rest or that wakes you
If you have questions about your symptoms, talk to a Western Baptist cardiac nurse any time on the Chest Pain Hotline at 1-800-575-7911.
If my family takes blood thinners, will I need to?
"Blood thinners," a non-medical term, can refer to drugs:
-- Aspirin or Plavix, that affect platelet function. They are often prescribed for artery disease.
-- Coumidin, which inhibits blood-clotting. It often is prescribed for atrial fibrillation.
Rare familial disorders, such as inherited thrombophilia, can result in several family members' requiring "blood thinners."
More commonly, diseases such as hardening of the arteries, heart rhythm or valve problems may run in families, requiring treatment with "blood thinners." If artery disease runs in your family, you should take precautions, such as eating a low-fat diet, getting plenty of exercise and not smoking.
See your doctor if you have any questions.