The incredible human heart!

Heart factsby Ryno van den Berg – StretchingSA – Pretoria East

Heart Fact 1: The incredible human heart The human heart beats 100 000 times a day.  It pumps enough blood  in a person’s lifetime to fill 3 supertankers.  The coronary arteries are the “fuel lines to the engine” and need to remain open for your heart to keep pumping. When one or more of the major vessels is obstructed for some reason, blood cannot get to the region of the heart muscle downstream of the blockage leading to a heart attack. Heart Fact 2: There is a 1 in 3 chance that your first heart attack will also be your LAST.    35% of all acute heart attacks are FATAL. Half of these deaths are SUDDEN and will occur within 1 hour after onset of chest pains. But contrary to popular belief, you will not have warning signs weeks before a heart attack occurs. 70% of heart attacks have NO Warning Symptoms. Heart Fact 3: Heart disease kills people 45-65 yrs old. It is the major cause (40%) of premature death in middle-aged men, which is most tragic because of the many unfulfilled obligations and responsibilities resulting from premature death.

Heart Fact 4: Heart disease actually kills two times more women than all cancers combined. Breast cancer is not the No 1 killer of middle aged women. More women die of heart disease than breast cancer and all the other cancers combined.  60% of women think that breast cancer is the greatest threat to their health but only 4% die from it. Heart Fact 5: Coronary artery disease is due to atherosclerosis, or hardening of the arteries, which is a slow progressive build-up of cholesterol plaque in the arteries of the heart. Most patients find out that they have heart disease when it is quite advanced. This is due to lack of understanding about how heart disease develops. Heart Fact 6: Most “classic” warning signals of a heart attack: – Uncomfortable pressure, fullness, squeezing or pain in the centre of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or goes away and comes back. – Pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms. – Chest discomfort with light-headedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or shortness of breath.
Less common warning signs of heart attack: – Atypical chest pain, stomach or abdominal pain. – Nausea or dizziness (without chest pain). – Shortness of breath and difficulty breathing (without chest pain). – Unexplained anxiety, weakness or fatigue. – Palpitations, cold sweat or paleness.
Not all these signs occur in every attack. Sometimes they go away and return. If some occur, get help fast. IF YOU NOTICE ONE OR MORE OF THESE SIGNS IN ANOTHER PERSON, DON’T WAIT. CALL YOUR EMERGENCY MEDICAL SERVICES SO THE PERSON CAN GET TO A HOSPITAL RIGHT AWAY!
How do I know if a heart attack has occurred? A physician who studies the results of several tests should be able to make the actual diagnosis of a heart attack. The doctor will: – Review the patient’s complete medical history. – Give a physical examination. – Use an electrocardiogram (E.K.G.) to discover any abnormalities caused by damage to the   heart.