It's the news you don't want to hear from your cardiologist: One or more of your coronary arteries -- the blood vessels that supply blood to your heart -- is blocked. You have coronary artery disease, the No. 1 killer of U.S. adults.
So does this mean you're headed for bypass surgery? Maybe not, if your situation isn't an emergency.
You might have other options -- including less drastic procedures to reopen those arteries, medication alone, or even radical lifestyle change.
What's your best option?...
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.