Tag Archives: heart attack

Know The Symptoms of a Heart Attack so You Can Act Fast

A heart attack, also known as a myocardial infraction, occurs when the supply of oxygenated blood to the heart is cut off or drastically reduced. This happens because of artherosclerosis, a build up of plaque on the artery walls which leads to narrow, hardened arteries and sometimes complete blockages. Heart disease is the leading cause of death in America, and approximately 730,000 Americans have a heart attack annually. Because of these startling numbers, it is vitally important to know the signs and symptoms of acute heart trouble so you can take immediate action and hopefully experience a better outcome.

What Are Common Symptoms Of A Heart Attack?

Some heart attacks are immediate but others come on gradually, so it is important to act quickly if you experience:

  1. Chest pain or discomfort (many women experience only a feeling of “pressure” in the chest)
  2. Shortness of breath
  3. Nausea or vomiting (along with other symptoms)
  4. Unusual pain in your upper body like your shoulders, neck or jaw
  5. Upper stomach discomfort that may feel similar to heartburn
  6. Syncope (fainting)
  7. Extreme unexplained and sudden fatigue
  8. Cold sweats

Symptoms May be Different for Everyone

Other symptoms include anxiety or unexplained fear, light-headedness or faintness. It is also important to know that men are more likely to experience classic symptoms such as chest pain and shortness of breath, whereas many women experience less chest pain, more jaw pain and nausea.

Know the Difference Between a Heart Attack and Cardiac Arrest

While a heart attack often has several symptoms, as we mentioned above, a cardiac arrest is often more sudden and comes with little warning. According to ACLS Medical training, a cardiac arrest occurs when the natural electrical conduction of the heart is interrupted by an arrhythmia, causing the person to collapse until they are revived. A cardiac arrest can be fatal unless immediate CPR or emergency defibrillation action is taken.

Don’t Wait Around – Take Action!

If you (or a loved one) are experiencing the above listed symptoms, don’t try to be a hero by ‘waiting it out’. Take immediate action. Of those who die of heart attacks, half die within the first hour of symptoms before even reaching the hospital. The earlier you receive emergency medical treatment, the better your chances of a positive outcome. If the heart is without oxygenated blood for too long you could die or become severely disabled for life. If you are wrong and aren’t having a heart attack, there is no harm done by seeking treatment. So, know the signs, know your own body and act fast.

Thanks for visiting DocChat! Stay happy and healthy!




6 Scary Reasons for Men To Stop Avoiding the Doc (Part 1)

According to the CDC, women are 33% more likely to visit the doctor regularly or when health concerns arise than men are. Most men skip annual physicals year after year, thinking “if it’s not broke, don’t fix it”. This is a dangerous mentality, as many diseases that commonly strike men creep in silently and gradually, with few or no symptoms (until it is too late). So, while many men may feel invincible to disease, the reality is they are anything but. Let’s take a look at a few of the most common diseases to afflict (and kill) men:

  1. Heart Disease

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, striking 1 in every 4 American men. According to the CDC, between 70-80% of heart attacks and other cardiac events happen to men. Even more starling is the fact that at least half of men who undergo these life-threatening heart episodes had no previous symptoms. So boys, do you see just how important it is to get regular checkups? Only a doctor can tell you how your cholesterol levels are, or if your blood pressure is where it should be. Might be time to book an appointment!

  1. Stroke

A stroke happens when blood flow to the brain is reduced or cut off, and brain cells die off due to lack of oxygen. As the fifth leading cause of death in American men, strokes are all too common in today’s population. Up to 80% of strokes can be prevented by curbing modifiable risk factors such as:

  • Having high blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Leading a high-stress lifestyle
  • Physical inactivity
  • Eating a diet high in take-out and junk food and low in produce
  • Drinking alcohol in excess
  • Being significantly overweight or obese.
  1. Testicular Cancer

Cancer is the second leading cause of disease-related death in the united states, and men succumb to the effects more often than women. In fact, according to the American Cancer Society, more than half of all American men will get some form of cancer at some point during their lifetime. Testicular cancer is the most common form for young men, striking over 8700 men and killing approximately 380 of them annually. The shocking prevalence of cancer among men should be enough reason alone for men to attend their annual physical or get a checkup when things don’t seem right, as cancer is much more survivable the earlier it is caught. Lung cancer and prostate cancer also strike males with alarming frequency and smoking is often to blame for the former of the two.

That concludes part 1 of our men’s health feature, stay tuned for part 2 next! Thanks for visiting DocChat!



Heart Matters – 40 Important Questions to Find Answers For (Part 2)

If you have a heart problem (or recently suffered a heart attack) and have an upcoming appointment with your family doctor or cardiologist, it is important you ask the appropriate questions that will help you learn more about your condition and overall health. The answers to these questions will help you better understand what you can do to help better your quality of life. In part 1 of Heart Matters – 40 Questions to Find Answers For, we looked at fitness level, surgery and diagnostics. Next we’ll take a look at diet, medication and outlook questions for you to ask your doctor:


  1. Do I need to follow a low sodium diet, or are my levels and blood pressure fine?
  2. Are there any particular foods I should be avoiding? How much alcohol can I safely drink, for example?
  3. Are there certain foods (such as those containing omega-3 fatty acids) you suggest I introduce into my diet?
  4. Are there any dietary supplements which may be dangerous for my condition that I should avoid?
  5. Are there any dietary supplements I should start taking to better my condition?

Heart Medications:

  1. How often, at what times and what dosage should I take my heart medication?
  2. Is it dangerous to miss a dose? What will happen if I do?
  3. How will this medication interact with the other medications (such as birth control) I am taking? What schedule should I follow to ensure all of my medications will be effective?
  4. Are there any common side effects of this medication I should watch out for?
  5. Should I take daily baby aspirin as well or will the benefits not outweigh the risks for me?

Other Conditions:

  1. Do I have high blood pressure? Should I be monitoring it? What is the target range I should be looking to fall under?
  2. How are my cholesterol levels? Should these be monitored every few months?
  3. I have diabetes (or another chronic condition), how will my heart problem impact my other disease(s)? Do I have to take special precautions?
  4. Is my heartrate stable and regular? Should I be tested for an arrhythmia?
  5. Am I at higher risk for developing other diseases because of my heart disease? How can I lower my risk?

Maintenance and Outlook:

  1. Am I at risk for future heart attacks? How can I better my odds?
  2. Am I at higher risk for a stroke because of my cardiovascular condition? How can I prevent this?
  3. Should I see another type of heart specialist in the future such as a vascular surgeon? Or should I see a dietician to help me formulate a personalized heart-healthy diet plan?
  4. Will my heart disease affect my job or vice versa? Should I ease back on work stress?
  5. Should I seek emotional support such as a support group for my condition? What mental health resources are available to help me cope?

All these questions will be a good start in helping you learn more about your condition and what will best help it, but you should try to write down any questions that come to mind so you make the best of your appointment. Thanks for visiting DocChat! If you would like to direct any of these questions to us, our doctors are on stand-by 24/7/365 to help!

Heart Matters – 40 Important Questions to Find Answers For (Part 1)

Whether you’ve recently suffered a heart attack, have been diagnosed with a heart condition such as congestive heart failure, or you have a family history of heart disease and are concerned about future problems, you should adequately prepare for your doctor or cardiology appointment to ensure you come away with the right answers, tests and plan in place for your particular cardiovascular situation. Answers will help you better educate yourself on your particular condition so you will better understand what you can do to help improve your quality of life. We’ve compiled some important questions that should be on your list to ask the heart specialist about your situation, let’s take a look by category:

About Your Disease:

  1. What is my exact cardiovascular diagnosis?
  2. What is the prognosis for my condition and what kinds of things can better the outlook?
  3. Where on the spectrum of severity does my condition fall? Mild, moderate or severe?
  4. How will my family history impact my current diagnosis? Am I in a higher risk category that will require closer monitoring?
  5. Was my condition caused by lifestyle factors or genetics?

If You’ve Had Surgery:

  1. What will recovery entail?
  2. How long until I can resume my normal activities?
  3. Were medication-releasing or medication-dependent stents put in place?
  4. Are there any post-surgical complications I should be on the look out for?
  5. Will my heart problems be better because of surgery, or will I need more work done?

Diagnostic Tests

  1. What tests should be done from here? Do I have to fast before any of these?
  2. How frequently should I check my blood pressure at home or have cholesterol tested?
  3. Do I need an annual checkup with my cardiologist or an annual stress test?
  4. What further testing do you have in mind to monitor my condition?
  5. Do I need regular EKGs?


  1. What activity level can my heart handle? Are there any specific exercises I should avoid, such as heavy lifting?
  2. Will my heart condition affect my sex life?
  3. What symptoms should I watch out for while doing activity?
  4. How long should I strive to exercise daily with my condition?
  5. Am I overweight or obese? Is there a target weight I should aim for?

That concludes part 1, stay tuned for the next 20 important questions to ask your cardiologist next! Thanks for visiting DocChat.

Check out our previous Heart Matters features:
Part 1 – Facts and Figures
Part 2 – Ticker Friendly Diet


Heart Matters (Edition #1) Facts and Figures

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 735,000 Americans have heart attacks annually. Moreover, there are a whopping 610,000 cardiac-related fatalities in the Unites States every year. Because of the alarming prevalence of cardiovascular disease, we wanted to start a regular Heart Matters feature. The second edition will focus on a heart-friendly diet.

Risk Factors

Luckily you can control some of the risk factors of heart disease, we will further explore some of these in future editions of Heart Matters. The World Health Organization (WHO) lists various modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors of heart disease including:

Reversible Factors:

  1. Hypertension
  2. Sedentary lifestyle (lack of exercise)
  3. Smoking
  4. Drinking in excess
  5. Unhealthy, non-nutritious diet
  6. Being overweight or obese

Unavoidable factors:

  1. Gender (while females are also at high risk, men are at higher risk)
  2. Age
  3. Family history
  4. Comorbid diseases such as diabetes

7 Cardiovascular Disease Fast Facts

  • Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in the United States
  • Heart disease kills more people than all types of cancer combined
  • Costs of heart disease exceed 320 billion dollars annually
  • Heart disease is the leading cause of death for women
  • According to the American Heart Foundation 90% of women have at least one risk factor
  • 1 in every 4 American deaths are due to cardiovascular disease
  • Most heart disease can be prevented or curtailed through lifestyle changes


If you have any questions or concerns about your heart health, our board certified DocChat physicians are more than qualified to help so feel free to sign up today for a video consultation.



Cardiac Arrest: After Surgery Care Tips

A man in pain clutches at his chest.

Cardiac arrest requires instant and prompt medical attention. This is because the heart ceases all of its functions, that is, it stops pumping blood to the brain, lungs, and many other organs of the human body. Thereby, causing unconsciousness and possible death if not treated as a medical emergency.

Once, you are out of surgery, the recovery period is extensive and exhaustive. Since the heart is the core of the human body, it needs a lot of time to heal and function properly. Here are some of the tips that you need to consider in order to avoid any postoperative complications and ensure proper functioning of your heart.

Exercising and Physical Therapies

Exercising is immensely important when you are recovering from cardiac surgery. Not only does it improve the heart function by improving its ability to inhale oxygen, it also reduces any potential risk of returning cardiac arrest.

Physical therapists, with slight movements, help you out immediately after you come out of cardiac surgery. Since, the surgery is still relatively recent, you need to make sure that you do not exert yourself and your body too much. Once you are released from the hospital, activities that do not put too much pressure on your body and heart should be carried out. Walking in your backyard, walking up the stairs, and just generally moving your body is an ample amount of exercise in this situation.

It is recommended that you join a rehabilitation center as the program helps recovering patients with light exercises that don’t exert their body too much. However, make sure that you discuss with an expert the type of exercises your body can handle and which are not too intense.

Take Care of Your Diet

Avoiding alcohol, smoking and any such harmful substances is extremely important when you are recovering from cardiac surgery. However, after a month you can have alcohol only if it is doesn’t exceed one glass a day, but make sure you ask your doctor before you consume any quantity of alcohol.

Vegetables, meat, and other protein foods should be incorporated into your diet. Make sure to get a lean protein cut. Moreover, in lieu of deep frying your food in oil, you should minimize the use of oil by baking or steaming your food. Avoiding foods with high cholesterol levels and fats is also important as it makes you vulnerable to heart attacks or potential cardiac arrests.

Destress Yourself Mentally

Having suffered a cardiac arrest and going through surgery is a very painful and traumatic experience. Thus, it is not surprising when patients complain of anxiety and depression. This requires you to relax and destress your minds. It is important to unburden yourself. Music, fresh air, etc. are immensely helpful to destress your minds. If you believe that you cannot handle the depression, you should make an appointment with a counselor and discuss what’s causing your apprehensions.

Telemedicine can also be of help. You can have an expert prepare a diet chart for you telling you what to eat and what not to eat. Plus, you can also have a special chart explaining activities to indulge in.