|MMWR Weekly (No. 5)|
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American Heart Month — February 2019
Weekly / February 8, 2019 / 68(5);101
Heart disease is the leading cause of death for men and women in the United States, and heart attacks are a major category of heart disease; someone in the United States has a heart attack every 40 seconds (1). February is American Heart Month, an ideal time to remind all adults to focus on their hearts and encourage them, their families, friends, and communities to learn the important signs and symptoms of heart attack and how to respond. Recognizing that someone might be having a heart attack and calling emergency services (9-1-1) are crucial for optimizing access to lifesaving emergency cardiac care and receipt of advanced treatments and improving survival. Five common symptoms of a heart attack are 1) pain or discomfort in the jaw, neck, or back; 2) feeling weak, lightheaded, or faint; 3) chest pain or discomfort; 4) pain or discomfort in the arms or shoulder; and 5) shortness of breath. If someone is suspected to be having a heart attack, 9-1-1 should be called immediately.
A report in this issue of MMWR shows that, although the percentage of persons who are aware of all five heart attack symptoms increased from 39.6% in 2008 to 50.2% in 2017, sociodemographic disparities existed (2). Education is needed to more widely disseminate information about how to recognize a possible heart attack and contact lifesaving emergency services.
- Benjamin EJ, Blaha MJ, Chiuve SE, et al. ; American Heart Association Statistics Committee and Stroke Statistics Subcommittee. Heart disease and stroke statistics—2017 update: a report from the American Heart Association. Circulation 2017;135:e146–603. CrossRef PubMed
- Fang J, Luncheon C, Ayala C, Odom E, Loustalot F. Awareness of heart attack symptoms and response among adults—United States, 2008, 2014 and 2017. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2019.68:101–6.