The Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life!

September 7, 2006

34767223.jpgThe latest issue of Circulation, a Journal of the American Heart Association had this interesting article on symptoms which should not be taken for granted.  These symptoms actually occur among patients prior to their Sudden Cardiac Death!  This study interests me because a close friend of the family apparently died of sudden cardiac death… but this new study refutes the notion that Sudden Cardiac death is actually not sudden after all!

The study involved analyzing data surrounding the circumstances among 400 patients who suffered sudden cardiac arrest. They looked at what were the symptoms preceeding the apparent death.

These are the symptoms that should warrant immediate attention…meaning if you have them, seek medical help!

  1. 22 percent of patients had experienced angina (chest pain) for 120 minutes.
  2. Dyspnea (difficulty breathing) was present in 15 percent of patients for 30 minutes
  3. Nausea or vomiting in 7 percent for 120 minutes
  4. Dizziness or fainting in 5 percent for 10 minutes

There are however 25 percent of the patients with no warning symptoms at all. The investigators likewise noted that in 90 percent of cases, symptoms lasted for at least 5 minutes and longer before the patient collapsed.

Apparently the authors concluded that “These symptoms are misinterpreted, suppressed, or denied despite the presence of a preexisting cardiac disease or cardiac risk factors”.

It is very important that the above symptoms should be addressed immediately especially if you have a history of heart disease and other risk factors, such as diabetes, smoking, and chronic lung disease.  These are the associated conditions in more than half of the patients studied.

A mere chest pain may already be a red flag for a worst scenario.  Likewise if you have risk factors… persistent nausea and vomiting may herald the onset of an impending heart attack!

It’s Better To Be Cautious Than Be Sorry!

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6 Responses to “The Warning Signs That Could Save Your Life!”

  1. Belinda Says:

    How about symptoms like seeing stars & could not see one meter away? Should these symptoms be taken seriously or mean anything at all? This person has hypertension & this happens when he is under a lot of stress at work.Thanks once again.

  2. Doc Gerry Says:

    That may mean transient ischemic attack which is a precursor of a stroke. Better have him evaluated to include a doppler studies of the carotid arteries especially if he hs chronic hypertension.

  3. jacqueline Says:

    what do we initially do? are we going to see a doctor or get a 2d echo right away if it happens? i usually experience angina, dyspnea and dizziness most of the time but i always say to myself that i am okey, im afraid to consult a doctor… thanks to your blog doc gerry

  4. Doc Gerry Says:

    Chest pain due to heart disease in the young is pretty uncommon but it does not mean heart disease in the young does not happen. Chest pain can be due to chest muscle pain due to muscle spasm or inflammation and dyspnes should be one noted at rest without effort to be considered significant for your age group. Your symptoms maybe related to anemia frequently seen in young females due to menstruation coupled with anxiety. However it is better to check with your primary care physician and have a CBC done- correct the anemia and note if your symptoms go away.

  5. anita Says:

    doc gerry, what shall we do about skip beat. what shall we do? please reply. thanks

  6. Doc Gerry Says:

    Hi Anita…thanks for the question. Skip beats are called “Premature” irregular beats or missed beats. These can occur in normal persons who are under stress or on excessive caffeine intake where due to premature beats, you can sense them as missed or skip beats. Check your risk factors like diabetes, high blood pressure, sudden death in the family to include smoking and high cholesterol… if you have the risk factors then have this symptom checked by your cardiologist to make sure those skip beats are not serious manifestations of an underlying heart problem.


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