Heart disease is the number one killer of people in the United States affecting over 81 million people, according to the American Heart Association. The most usual class of heart disease is coronary artery disease (CAD) which can lead to a heart attack. High blood pressure, myocardial infarction, angina pectoris, stroke, and heart failure claimed over 800,000 lives in 2006.

The risks for coronary artery disease can be greatly reduced through lifestyle change and even medication in some cases. In the U.S., heart disease will cost about $316 billion annually in health care services, medications, and lost productivity. This year, it’s estimated that 1.26 million Americans will have a new or recurring heart attack.

Chest pain is a symptom of heart attackWhat to do Before a Heart Attack Strikes

Of course, there is no way anyone can predict a heart attack, but there are some things that can be done before. The American Heart Association does indeed recommend ASPIRIN® for use in patients who’ve had a myocardial infarction, unstable angina, ischemic stroke, or transient ischemic attacks, if not contraindicated.

According to the American Heart Association website, ASPIRIN helps to prevent recurrent heart attacks in people with a high risk for a heart attack. However, ASPIRIN therapy should not be started without first consulting with a doctor. Do not rely on ASPIRIN to help relieve the pain of a heart attack before calling 911. ASPIRIN alone will not treat or cure the heart attack. The best recommendation for preventing a heart attack is to take care of risk factors like obesity, diet, stress, giving up tobacco, and getting adequate exercise.

Know These Heart Attack Symptoms

Knowing the typical major symptoms of a heart attack can save valuable time in getting to a hospital, getting immediate care from emergency medical professionals, or communicating the condition to people in proximity. Death or long-term and permanent disability can be caused by a heart attack, so identifying symptoms and getting help quickly is essential.

Most heart attacks will cause pain or discomfort in the middle of the chest that lasts for more than just a few minutes. This chest pain may also go away and come back. This chest discomfort has been described as an uncomfortable pressure or squeezing sensation. Pain or discomfort in the back, neck, jaw, stomach, or one or both arms can also be a symptom along with shortness of breath, light-headedness, nausea, sudden weakness, or breaking out in a cold sweat.

Act Fast in the Event of Heart Attack

The first hour of a heart attack is called the “golden hour.” Getting medical help within this first critical hour will greatly increase the chances of recovery. Do not be afraid of being embarrassed when going to the emergency room because they might find nothing wrong. Go to the emergency room anyway. Better to be embarrassed and alive than the alternative.

Take immediate action. Waiting is dangerous and can cause even more damage to the heart, even resulting in death. If chest pain or discomfort is felt, especially with one or more of the other symptoms listed above, it is vital that a person seek immediate medical care by dialing 911 before doing anything else. Try and sit or lie down and remain as calm as possible. If not allergic to ASPIRIN, chew an aspirin as soon as possible.

Heart attacks typically occur between 4:00 a.m. and 10:00 a.m. because there tends to be more adrenaline in the bloodstream during those times. That increased adrenaline may cause accumulated plaque to rupture and cause the formation of a blood clot which eventually leads to the heart attack. In spite of what some people believe, the incidence of heart attacks does not usually occur during exercise or physical exertion.