LAWTON, OK (KSWO) -When you're having a heart attack, time is muscle. The faster you get treated, the better chance you have of survival and recovery.
If you think you're having a heart attack, minutes matter when it comes to getting medical treatment.
"Time is muscle and if you delay, the chance of having irreversible damage to the heart is going to be higher, so it's essential that you open the artery as soon as possible to improve the function of the muscle," explained Dr. Senthil Nachimuthu, a cardiologist at Comanche County Memorial Hospital.
Dr. Nachimuthu says a heart attack occurs when the blood supply to the heart is cut off due to blockage. The longer the heart is deprived of blood, the more likely it will suffer long term damage and weakness.
"The longer you wait, the higher the chance that the muscle is going to go in for an irreparable damage. So, it's extremely important that you open the artery as soon as possible if you wait the muscle doesn't get enough oxygen," Dr. Nachimuthu said,
So, the sooner you get to the hospital the better. The goal is to get heart attack patients into the cath lab within a 90-minute window. In the cath lab, patients receive a procedure to re-open clogged arteries and restore blood flow to the heart.
"We pass a catheter and try to figure out where the blockage is, and once we figure out the blockage we immediately pass a wire and a balloon and also a catheter where we suck the clot out and put a stent in," Dr. Nachimuthu explained.
But the most important factor is to get treatment as soon as you recognize heart attack symptoms, which include chest pain like someone is sitting on your chest, pain in your jaw, shoulder or neck and stomach pain, sometimes compared to a feeling of indigestion. The symptoms can be accompanied by light headedness, shortness of breath, sweating and nausea.
You can have all of these symptoms, just a few or maybe only one, but don't risk it. If you have any of these symptoms, get to a hospital immediately. As the saying goes, it's better to be safe than sorry.
In other Heart Month news, mark your calendar for the healthy heart screenings, which will be held on Feb. 29 and March 1 from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. in the Oakwood Conference Center.
The free screening includes an electrocardiogram, heart risk assessment, waist circumference, height, weight and body mass test. For only $20, you can receive lab tests that includes your A1C, good, bad and total cholesterol and triglycerides.
To make an appointment, call 580-585-5406.