Atherosclerosis is dangerous because it's so stealthy. This process of narrowing and hardening of the arteries occurs over decades, usually without any symptoms.
Heart attacks and strokes caused by atherosclerosis are responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths each year. But diseases caused by atherosclerosis also lead to chronic pain, kidney failure, blindness, and even impotence.
It's time to shine some light on these hidden complications of atherosclerosis -- and to learn how to...
Chest pain or pressure, or a strange feeling in the chest.
Shortness of breath.
Nausea or vomiting.
Pain, pressure, or a strange feeling in the back, neck, jaw, or upper belly, or in one or both shoulders or arms.
Lightheadedness or sudden weakness.
A fast or irregular heartbeat.
After you call 911, the operator may tell you to chew 1 adult-strength or 2 to 4 low-dose aspirin. Wait for an ambulance. Do not try to drive yourself.
Nitroglycerin. If you typically use nitroglycerin to relieve angina and if one dose of nitroglycerin has not relieved your symptoms
within 5 minutes, call 911. Do not wait to call for help.
Women's symptoms. For men and women, the most common symptom is chest pain or pressure. But women are somewhat more likely than men to have other symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea, and back or jaw pain.
Why wait for an ambulance?
911 and taking an ambulance to the
hospital, you may be able to start treatment before you arrive at the hospital.
If any complications occur along the way, ambulance personnel are trained to
evaluate and treat them.
If an ambulance is not readily
available, have someone else drive you to the emergency room. Do not drive
yourself to the hospital.
If you witness a person become
unconscious, call 911 or other emergency
services and start CPR (cardiopulmonary resuscitation). The emergency operator
can coach you on how to perform CPR.
This information is produced and provided by the National
Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National
Institute via the Internet web site at http://
.gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
August 13, 2014
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor.
Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this