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Fire department urges people to be "heart smart"

SPOKANE, Wash. - February is American Heart Month and the Spokane Fire Department wants the community to be “heart smart” and know the warning signals for heart attacks and strokes.

“Several types of heart disease are risk factors for stroke and stroke is a risk factor for coronary heart disease,” said Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer. “Knowing the warning signals can help when every second counts.”

The American Heart Association provides the following warning signals of heart attack and stroke:

Heart Attack Warning Signs:

-- Chest discomfort: Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes, or that goes away and comes back. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.

-- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body: Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.

-- Shortness of breath: with or without chest discomfort.

-- Other signs: may include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.

Stoke Warning Signs:

-- Spot a Stroke F.A.S.T:

-- Face Drooping: Does one side of the face droop or is it numb? Ask the person to smile.

--Arm Weakness: Is one arm weak or numb? Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward?

-- Speech Difficulty: Is speech slurred, are they unable to speak, or are they hard to understand? Ask the person to repeat a simple sentence, like "the sky is blue." Is the sentence repeated correctly?

Time to call 9-1-1: If the person shows any of these symptoms, even if the symptoms go away, call 9-1-1 and get them to the hospital immediately.
 

The fire department says it is important to remember that not all of these signs are necessary to identify every heart attack or stroke. If any of these signs occur, every second is critical—don’t wait, call 9-1-1 immediately.


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