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When you think of love and hearts and when to celebrate, I am sure the month of February comes to mind. Not only is it “the month for lovers,” but also the official month for Heart Health Awareness. We are headed into our second month of new year’s resolutions with increased resolve or defeat, and either way, most people made a resolution for improved health.
We all know that heart attacks are bad, however most of us convince ourselves that it’s a disease of aging. In the past this was true, however today, heart attacks are occurring younger and younger!
In a study featured by the American Heart Association (AHA) news (November 12, 2018), from years 1995-2014, 30% of those having heart attacks were ages 35-54. The study goes further to explain that it’s due to lifestyle choices including poor diet control and a lack of exercise.
Let’s consider your heart as an electrical and plumbing system. Today, we will look at the plumbing side. If your cardiovascular system was a kitchen sink with plumbing and every night you washed a little bit of scraps into the sink, what would happen? You knew that even if it was just a little corn or spaghetti, it should go in the trash, but what would it hurt to wash this little bit down, right? Eventually the kitchen sink clogs and you have a mess! At this point, you have two choices, you need an emergency fix, which is usually Liquid Plummer or call the plumber himself.
Your heart works the same way! Now that the pipes are clogged, you are creating a mess that can eventually cause fluid backup and permanent damage to the rest of the kitchen.
Now I am a Johnstoninan born and bred and quite resourceful, but even I know I can’t repair all things, so I know I need to call for help. If wise, I will call for help right away, as this problem is only going to get worse!
This is the reason that you should call 911! The longer you wait, the more chance you have of permanent damage and death. According the AHA, 50% of people who die of a heart attack, die outside of the hospital. Unfortunately, as an ER and ICU nurse, I have seen the tragedies of death and disability because someone didn’t call 911 and it was heartbreaking. EMS is trained to identify your heart attack and call for the plumbing crew (heart team) to fix you as soon as you arrive. When you come to the hospital on your own, you now must be checked for the heart attack and wait for a team to be called.
If you find someone who appears to need CPR, I am going to explain in two sentences!
Find mid-nipple line of the chest or where it’s supposed to be.
Push hard and fast.
Today, the AHA still uses the song “Staying Alive” by the BeeGees to tell you how fast of a beat to push while doing CPR. I guess disco never dies so I will leave you with DISCO to explain signs and symptoms of a heart attack.
D- Dizzy
I-Indigestion
S- Sweaty
C- Chest Pain
Out of Breath
Stay alive by recognizing the signs and symptoms and calling 911.

Article originally appeared in Johnston Now.

Melissa Godwin Overton

Melissa Godwin Overton, RN, BSN is the owner of MedicalTraining.me, which is a first aid, CPR and medical training facility located in Smithfield, NC. With over 25 years of medical experience including EMS, ICU, ER and Nursing Education, Melissa has a passion for outreach education and explaining things on a relatable level.

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