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Recognize early heart attack signs and save heart muscle

February 19, 2013

More than half of people suffering heart attacks experience one or more early symptoms. By learning and paying attention to these early warning signs, people can get to the hospital, their condition can be diagnosed and treatment started quicker, minimizing or even avoiding damage to their heart, says Julie Shayne, RN, Chest Pain Center coordinator.

“So many people who’ve suffered a heart attack will say they felt off or not themselves in the hours or even days before the attack,” Shayne says, “but they ignored those symptoms, assuming they would just go away. Often our bodies are telling us something is wrong and we need to listen.”

Shayne encourages everyone to learn the early signs and symptoms of a heart attack. “Share this information with others. Make a pledge that if you or anyone you know has any of these symptoms, you will call 911,” Shayne says. Knowing where to seek help is key. St. Mary’s offers the only comprehensive cardiac and vascular (blood vessel) program in western Colorado. Patients sometimes begin cardiac care elsewhere, only to have to be transferred to St. Mary’s for more advanced care. “This costs precious time in their diagnosis and treatment,” Shayne adds.