American Red Cross observes Heart Disease Awareness Month in February

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Press release from the American Red Cross:

American Red Cross Observes Heart Disease Awareness Month in February
Urges community to know heart attack warning signs, get trained in CPR, first aid

During the month of February, the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana observes Heart Disease Awareness Month. Given the most recent data, 2,286 people in northeast Indiana died of a cardio-vascular-related cause in the last reported year. That was approximately six northeast Indiana Hoosiers every day, or one about every three hours and fifty minutes. (Source: Indiana State Dept. of Health, 2007 Mortality Report)

Because heart attacks and cardiac arrest are a reality, the Red Cross offers training in cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR), first aid, and automatic external defibrillator (AED). This training offers all individuals the opportunity to get trained and be prepared for responding to life-threatening emergencies in their homes, workplaces, and communities.

Everyone should know the warning signs of a heart attack. Most start slowly with mild pain or discomfort. Often people experiencing a heart attack are not sure what is wrong and wait too long before seeking help. Here are some signs that can mean a heart attack is occurring:

  • 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.

As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort, but women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting, and back or jaw pain. Learn the signs, but remember this: even if you are not sure it is a heart attack, have it checked out (tell a doctor about your symptoms). Minutes matter! Fast action can save lives — maybe your own. Don’t wait more than five minutes to call 9-1-1 or your emergency response number. (Source: American Heart Association)

Coronary heart disease is the number one cause of death in the United States. That is why it is so important to know the warning signs and know how to respond quickly and properly if warning signs occur. The Red Cross offers CPR, first aid, and AED training on a weekly basis at its facility at 1212 E. California Rd. in Fort Wayne (across from the Memorial Coliseum). Training is also available in the workplace. Do not wait to get trained in the skills that may ultimately save someone’s life. For more information on registering for a community class or holding a training session at your workplace, please visit the American Red Cross of Northeast Indiana at 1212 E. California Rd. in Fort Wayne, call (260) 484.9336 ext. 240 or visit

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