Of the 715,000 Americans who have a heart attack each year, about
525,000 are first-timers, says the CDC, and those individuals may
not know what's happening. Sadly, many people do not get to the
hospital on time, says paramedic Dale Hemstalk.
"If someone is
having a heart attack, for example, they should get to the hospital
without delay upon the initial onset of symptoms," says Hemstalk,
who is also a software developer with
Forté Holdings, a provider of
health-care software that works closely with paramedics, emergency
medical technicians and firefighters to speed delivery of medical
services. The company's newest software,
iPCR, takes electronic patient-care reporting in the field to new levels
of portability and affordability.
"We live in an age in which we should be taking greater advantage
of our technology for health purposes -- but you have to call for
help first!" Hemstalk says.
He shares warning signs that it's time to dial 911.
Men and women frequently report different symptoms. Men tend to
have the "classic" signs, such as pressure, fullness, squeezing
or pain in the center of the chest that goes away and comes
back; pain that spreads to the shoulders, neck or arms; chest
discomfort with lightheadedness, fainting, sweating, nausea or
shortness of breath. For women, symptoms tend to be back or jaw
pain; difficulty breathing; nausea or dizziness; unexplainable
anxiety or fatigue; mild flu-like symptoms; palpitations, cold
sweats or dizziness. Triggers tend to be different between the
sexes, too. In women, it's often stress; in men, it's physical
Symptoms of a stroke: There
are clear, telltale characteristics of a stroke, including
sagging on one side of the face, an arm that's drifting down and
garbled speech. But there are also more subtle signs from the
onset, such as sudden numbness of one side of the body,
including an arm, leg and part of the face; sudden confusion,
trouble speaking and understanding; sudden trouble seeing in one
or both eyes; sudden loss of balance; sudden headache for no
apparent reason. Risk factors include diabetes, tobacco use,
hypertension, heart disease, a previous stroke, irregular
heartbeat, obesity, high cholesterol and heavy alcohol use.
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- Symptoms for heart failure: Heart failure is not the
same as a heart attack, which occurs when a vessel supplying the
heart muscle with oxygen and nutrients becomes completely
blocked. Heart failure is a chronic condition where the heart
can't pump properly, which may be due to fluid in the lungs.
Warning signs include shortness of breath, fatigue, swollen
ankles, chest congestion and an overall limitation on
activities. Just one of these symptoms may not be cause for
alarm; but more than one certainly is. Risk factors include
various heart problems, serious viral infections, drug or
alcohol abuse, severe lung disease, and chemotherapy.
"At no point should anyone be discouraged from calling 911,"
Hemstalk says. "The bottom line is, if you feel it's an emergency
and you need to call 911, call 911! There are many reasons to seek
assistance from emergency responders, and they are not limited to
those that I've mentioned."
David Hemstalk, a U.S. Air Force veteran and career
firefighter-paramedic, has been providing emergency care for over 20
years. During his tenure in emergency medical services, he has been
an educator, paramedic preceptor and field training officer. Working
for government agencies and private companies alike, Hemstalk relies
on his experiences to help design product features that improve
efficiency, speed and accuracy while keeping the field provider's
needs his highest priority. Joining Forté Holdings' team was a
natural progression combining his love of the EMS industry and new
technology along with his commitment to providing the best possible
documentation on each and every call for service. To stay current in
the industry, Hemstalk remains active in EMS, is still a full-time
firefighter-paramedic and continues his passion for treating those
[Text from file received from
News and Experts]