March 1, 2010
Media Release

Recognize the signs of a heart emergency

NEWMARKET – Can you recognize the signs of a heart emergency?  Learning to identify these signs can save your life, the life of a loved one or even the life of a stranger.
A heart attack is more severe than angina.  It occurs when one or more of the arteries that supply the heart with oxygenated blood become blocked.  When the heart does not receive adequate blood, it cannot function effectively.  Common signs of a heart attack include complaint of chest pain (normally located in the central chest), pressure, squeezing, nausea, vomiting, shortness of breath, weakness, and cool, pale moist skin.  Other signs may include agitation, rubbing the chest and denial.
If you think you or someone else is having a heart attack, call 911 immediately.  Each year, York Region paramedics respond to numerous angina and heart attack emergency calls.
While waiting for the paramedics to arrive, cease activity, loosen any tight clothing the affected person may be wearing and keep them comfortable by reassuring and talking quietly and calmly to them. 
If the person stops breathing, begin cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) and if one is available, use an automated external defibrillator (AED).  York Region Emergency Medical Services (EMS) encourages residents to become trained and certified in proper CPR and AED life-saving techniques.
Angina is a common medical condition that affects people who have coronary artery disease.  It occurs when plaque builds up in the arteries that carry blood to the heart.  This build up decreases the amount of blood and oxygen that is transferred to the heart muscle.  An episode of angina involves chest pain and can be brought on by physical activity, stress or other causes.
Recognizing the signs of a heart attack may save a person’s life.  However, beating to a healthier heart can also reduce the chances of a heart attack.  Simply put, be physically active, eat a healthy, balanced diet, live tobacco free and incorporate coping strategies to help manage stress.
For more information on The Regional Municipality of York, please visit
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Media Contact: Jennifer Mitchell-Emmerson, Community and Health Services, York Region
 Phone:  905 830-4444, ext. 4016 or After-hours Cell: 905 716-9753

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