As the heat waves and scorching weather hits, emergency rooms attend increased cases of heat-related illnesses. Among these includes the deadly ‘Heat Stroke’, a very serious medical condition putting anyone at a risk for possible cardiovascular harmful consequences.
Those most at risk include the elderly, infants, and athletes. It is essential to be aware of the symptoms for heat stroke which includes a number of signs such as high body temperature, nausea, rapid heartbeat to rapid breathing.
Both heart disease and stroke are equally grave cardiovascular disease. In the US, heart condition still remains the prevalent and number one, and stroke being placed at number four. To avoid becoming a victim of this terminal disease, it’s vital to know and identify the symptoms and signs of a stroke or heart attack and understand how to prevent your risk.
What Is A Heart Attack?
An attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart muscle becomes limited or blocked. Here are the most common indications of a heart attack:
- Uncomfortable fullness, pressure, squeezing or burning sensations in the chest
- Pain in the neck, chest, or back
- Unusual breathlessness
- Nausea, dizziness, vomiting, sweating
- Unusual fatigue
It’s important to remember that heart attack indications vary from each person to person and between women and men. If you’re unsure about the signs, don’t hesitate – just call for help.
What Is A Stroke?
A stroke occurs when the blood clots block the supply of blood to the brain, or when a blood vessel in or around the brain bursts. In either of the case, parts of the brain die or become damaged. It can take months to years to recover from a stroke attack, where some patients never fully recover.
If you recognize the acronym FAST (Face, Arms, Speech, Time), it will indicate warning indications of a stroke in you or in your loved ones:
i. Face: Numbness, dropping on one side or sudden drooling.
ii. Arms: Numbness, difficulty holding things, one arm drifts down or can’t be raised, or trouble in walking.
iii. Speech: Slurred speech which doesn’t make any sense, or difficulty in writing, reading and understanding what others are saying.
iv. Time: If you see warning signs of a stroke, act quickly. Time is important in protecting brain function.
Three Ways To Reduce Your Risk Of a Heart Attack Or Stroke
Heat Stroke is a grave condition, but luckily, it a preventable one too. Though you can’t overlook the risk factor for cardiovascular diseases such as gender, age, family history, and race/ethnicity, you can reduce your own risk. This summer, take up on this good cause to prevent a heat stroke by the following tips:
1. Know Your Health Numbers
By paying attention to the mentioned below health measures, you can prevent heart disease:
- Fasting Glucose – This test helps in measuring the sugar amount in your blood after having eaten for 8 hours at least. Your fasting glucose should be less than 100 mg/dl.
- Blood Pressure – We have two blood pressure types to measure it. One is systolic that measures pressure in the blood vessels when heartbeats and the other one being the Diastolic which marks the pressure when the heart rests. The normal pressure should be about 120 (systolic) over 80 (diastolic) mm Hg.
- Cholesterol – Cholesterol can be estimated in many ways, and all are important in determining the risk factor for cardiovascular conditions. A normal and healthy cholesterol level should be higher than 50 mg/dl, low level is lesser than 100 mg/dl and triglycerides should be lower than 150 mg/dl.
- Body Mass Index (BMI) – The relationship measure between your weight and height is indicated by BMI. If your weight is excess than your height, then you have unwanted body fat, which may cause heart disease, stroke and high blood pressure. The normal BMI should be between 18.5 and 24.0.
2. Eat Healthy
Choose foods which are low in added sugar, fat, and salt. Try and eat a lot of fruits and vegetables or high fibre foods. Limiting red meat and eating fish twice a week helps in lowering the risk.
3. Develop Healthy Lifestyle Habits
Regular to moderate intensity exercise is necessary to reduce cardiovascular risks. Exercise for 30 minutes or more even four times a week will help you to stay healthy. Cut down or quit smoking. Smoking is the most common cause of death and a contributor to heart diseases.
Symptoms Of Heat Stroke
Heart attack or stroke is a medical emergency. If you happen to experience the followings signs, apply water to your skin instantly and seek medical assistance. However, these are the warning signs which one should be looking out for:
- High fever
- Pounding pulse
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Hot, dry skin without sweating
How To Avoid Heat Stroke
If left unattended, heat stroke can trigger grave, even deadly, health issues. Follow these steps to avoid a heat stroke this summer.
- Drink cool fluids
- Avoid alcohol
- Protect against sunburn
- Wear light coloured and loose clothes
- Stay in a cool environment
- Avoid heavy exertion midday
- Take frequent cool bath or shower
- Take precautions with certain drugs
If you experience heavy sweating with clammy, cool skin, along with signs such as muscle cramps, fatigue, nausea, headache or fainting, you may suffer from heat exhaustion – a type of heat sickness which can lead to stroke if not act upon quickly.
If you are out in the heat, don’t stay for long. Get out of the heat as soon as possible. Fan your body and apply water to your skin if you encounter any of the symptoms. Remove excess clothing if necessary and drink cool water or juice. These will help you to prevent the heat exhaustion before it worsens.
If any of these symptoms strike, having someone to stay beside you is wise to control your condition. If you don’t feel better even after 30 minutes or so, seek medical help.