Love Your Heart: Life of a heart attack - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

Love Your Heart: Life of a heart attack

SHREVEPORT, LA (KSLA) -

Every year, more than 600,000 people die of heart disease, according to the CDC.

There are 5 major signs and symptoms of a heart attack, the most common sign is chest pain. 

"That can be a tightness, squeezing, pressure, sometimes associated with shortness of breath, sometimes associated with radiation down the arm or up in to the neck and jaw. Sometimes they get clammy," Dr. Stafford said.

The CDC also reports nearly 800,000 Americans have a heart attack every year, that's roughly one heart attack every 40 seconds. The tell-tale sign of most heart attacks is chest pain, but many may not realize that's what's going on at first.  

"15% of the first heart attacks are fatal," said Dr. Paul Stafford, an interventional cardiologist with Willis-Knighton.

Doctors say the first thing to do is call 911 immediately if you think you're having a heart attack. They also advise chewing a few aspirin if you have a suspicion you're having one.

"During a heart attack, what happens is sometimes its a narrowed artery, sometimes it's a plaque that ruptures, but the major heart attacks, you have a very quick rupture of a plaque. That forms a clot that completely interrupts flow to that blood vessel," Dr. Stafford said

Dr. Stafford shared how to take care of yourself to prevent a heart attack from happening. 

"I think it's very important to know your risk factors. Risk factors, being a male, depending on your age, diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, smoking, inactive lifestyle, family history is very important. But all of those things are important, and I think educating people and making them realize that so we can make them do kind of lifestyle changes very early on," Dr. Stafford said.

Some of those risk factors you can't change, but many you can take a proactive approach to help with prevention or from having a second heart attack.

"Just modifying those risk factors. The main things probably exercise, getting in a better regimen. The American Heart Association makes that very simple. They just say 30 minutes of some kind of moderate activity, most days a week," Dr. Stafford said.

After a person has a heart attack, doctor's advise to seek support to deal with the trauma.

 To limit the chances of having a heart attack, doctors advise to exercise and eat right.

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