Upward trend for cardiac arrests in December and January

5:59 AM, Jan 21, 2019

You probably know that smoking, obesity, and not exercising can lead to heart disease.

But several studies have uncovered that the incidence of heart attack increases by 15 percent in December and January.

Heart attacks, once known as a part of “old man’s disease”, are increasingly occurring in younger people, especially women.

Corpus Christi Medical Center Cardiology Coordinator Christina Perry says ER doctors and nurses have seen an upward trend for cardiac arrests in December and January months.

“The holidays may be over, but the stress is not. The New Year’s resolution can sometimes lead to newexercise regimens that have not been approved by physicians, and it also leads to credit card bills coming in from the Christmas holidays that can kind of lead to increase stress as well,” said Perry. If you’ve pushed yourself too far, there are signs to look for.

“Early heart attack signs include the crushing chest pain in men; it can include jaw pain as well. With women, the number one sign of heart attack is debilitating fatigue. Men and women are very different when it comes to heart attack symptoms,” said Perry.

Another study by the American Heart Association showed more than 28,000 people hospitalized for heart attacks from 1995 to 2014, and 30 percent of those patients were young, 35 to 54 years old.

“Patients that do go into full cardiac arrests, their heart is completely stopped, so at that point, they need CPR Advanced Cardiovascular Life Support (ACLS), but you also need heart resuscitative programs, and thankfully Corpus Christi Medical Center is one of two out of twelve hospitalsin the state that has the full resuscitation accreditation program. That means we have the highest level of care for all cardiac arrest patients. We use cooling to help salvage any kind of brain function for these patients. We have the physicians that are very highly trained, and a nursing staff that can handle all kinds of cardiac arrests patients,” said Perry.

A heart attack occurs when the blood flow that delivers oxygen to the heart is reduced or cut off. According to the American Heart Association, this occurs when coronary arteries become narrowed from fat buildup, cholesterol and other substances called plaque. According to the AHA, someone suffers a heart attack about every 40 seconds in the U.S.

What does Primary PCI and Resuscitation mean?

The PCI designation means that we use a specialized treatment called percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) as the primary treatment for acute heart attacks.

This ensures that patients experiencing an acute heart attack receive rapid treatment in the cardiac cath lab to minimize damage to the heart muscle.

The resuscitation designation refers to our robust hypothermia program for post-cardiac arrest patients, which is designed to temporarily lower a patient’s body temperature to reduce the risk of brain damage.

A heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. The blockage is most often a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances, which form a plaque in the arteries that feed the heart (coronary arteries).

A heart attack, also called a myocardial infarction, can be fatal, but treatment has improved dramatically over the years.

It’s crucial to call 911 or emergency medical help if you think you might be having a heart attack.

Bay Area and Doctors Regional are the only local hospitals that are accredited Chest Pain Centers with PCI and Resuscitation.

Risks Among the risk factors, increased risk includes: emotional distress, anger, anxiety, sadness, grief, stress, excessive food intake, alcohol and long distance travel.

Symptoms Not all people who have heart attacks have the same symptoms or have the same severity of symptoms.

Some people have mild pain; others have more severe pain. Some people have no symptoms; for others, the first sign may be sudden cardiac arrest. However, the more signs and symptoms you have, the greater the likelihood you’re having a heart attack.

Common heart attack signs and symptoms include:

  • Pressure, tightness, pain, or a squeezing or aching sensation in your chest or arms that may spread to your neck, jaw or back
  • Nausea, indigestion, heartburn or abdominal pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Lightheadedness or sudden dizziness

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