It is important to recognize the signals of a heart attack, but it is equally important to take immediate action and seek medical care. The potential damage to the heart is too important to gamble on the signal being caused by something less fatal. Some signals are:
Persistent chest pain or pressure that lasts longer than 3 to 5 minutes or goes away and comes back. (Pain or pressure is a primary signal of heart attack.)
Chest pain spreading to the shoulders, neck, jaw, stomach or arms.
Nausea or vomiting.
Shortness of breath or trouble breathing.
Dizziness, light-headedness or fainting.
Pale, ashen (grayish) or bluish skin.
Denial of signals.
Both men and women experience chest pain (the most common signal of heart attack), but women are more likely to experience some of the other signs and symptoms, especially shortness of breath, nausea or vomiting and back or jaw pain. Women are also more likely to delay letting others know about their signals for fear of worrying or bothering them.
Don’t delay. Seek help. Call 9-1-1 right away.
Recognizing a Stroke
A stroke, sometimes called a “brain attack,” is caused by a blockage of blood flow to a part of the brain. A stroke can cause permanent damage to the brain if the blood flow is not restored. Strokes can be caused by a blood clot or bleeding from a ruptured artery in the brain.
Like other sudden illnesses, the primary signal of a stroke or mini-stroke is a sudden change on how the body is working or feeling. This usually includes sudden weakness or numbness of the face, arm or leg. Usually, weakness or numbness occurs only on one side of the body. In addition, the person may have the following.
Difficulty talking or being understood when speaking.
Blurred or dimmed vision.
Experience a sudden, severe headache; dizziness; or confusion.
For a Stroke, think F.A.S.T.
FACE — Weakness on one side of the face. Ask the person to smile; this will show if there is drooping or weakness in the muscles on one side of the face.
ARM — Weakness or numbness in one arm. Ask the person to raise both arms to find out if there is weakness in the limbs.
SPEECH — Slurred speech or trouble getting the words out.
TIME — Time to call 9-1-1 if you see any of the above signs.
(If a person has difficulty with any of these tasks or shows any other signals of a stroke, note the time that the signals began and call 9-1-1 right away.
Additional information is available from the National Stroke Association at http://www.stroke.org/
People who Volunteer Live Longer, Study Suggests
By Remy Melina /Live Science.com Sat. Sep 17. 2011
People who volunteer for selfless reasons, such as helping others, live longer than those who don’t lend a helping hand, a new study shows. However, those who volunteer for more self-centered reasons do not reap the same life-extending benefits.
“This could mean that people who volunteer with other people as their main motivation may be buffetted from potential stressors associated with volunteering, such as time constraints and lack of pay” study researcher Sara Konrath of the University of Michigan said in a statement.
Konrath and colleagues looked at results from the Wisconsin Longitudinal Study, which has followed a random sample of 10,317 Wisconsin residents from their high school graduation in 1957 until the present. In 2008, the average age of the participants was about 69, and about half of the participants were female. In 2004, the participants reported how often they had volunteered within the past 10 years. They also explained their reasons for volunteering, or in the cases of those who had not volunteered but were planning to, the reasons they would. Some of the participants motives were more oriented toward others such as “I feel it is important to help others.” or “Volunteering is an important activity to the people I Know best.” Other respondents, however, had more self-oriented reasons for volunteering, such as “Volunteering is a good escape from my own troubles.” or “Volunteering makes me feel better about myself. ”
Researchers then compared the participants’ responses with physical health information that had mostly been collected in 1992. The researchers also considered the respondents’ socioeconomic status, mental health, social support, marital status and health risk factors, including smoking, body mass index and alcohol use.
The findings showed that those who volunteerred for more than altrustic reasons had lower mortality rates as of 2008 than people who did not volunteer. Of the 2,384 non-volunteers, 4.3 percent were deceased 4 years later, compared with 1.6 percent of altrustic volunteers who had died. However, people who said they volunteered for their own personal satisfaction had nearly the same mortality rate (4 percent) as people who did not volunteer at all.
“It is reasonable for people to volunteer in part because of the benefits to the self:however, our research implies that, ironically, should these benefits to the self become the main motive for volunteering, they may not see those benefits,’ said study researcher Andrea Fuhrel-Forbes, also of the University of Michigan. Published in August in Journal of Health Psychology.