According to CDC Million Hearts, cardiovascular disease causes 1 in 3 US deaths, with one-fifth of them occurring in people under the age of 65. Each year, Americans suffer 1,500,000 heart attacks and strokes, making them two of the most widespread US health problems .
Your body depends on your heart, vessels, and blood (the cardiovascular system) to transport nutrients and oxygen. Over time, arteries may narrow from cholesterol buildup. If a blood clot blocks a narrowed vessel, tissues with low blood supply (ischemia) start to die. In the heart, this is called a heart attack, or myocardial infarction. In the brain, it's called an ischemic stroke. A less common stroke type, hemorrhagic, occurs if a blood vessel ruptures in the brain.
Signs of heart attack and stroke are a life-threatening emergency. If warning signs are present, call 9-1-1 immediately:
If you suspect a stroke, act FAST:
Face: Ask the person to smile. Does one side of the face droop? Arms: Ask the person to raise both arms. Does one arm drift downward? Speech: Ask the person to repeat a short phrase. Is their speech slurred or jumbled? Time: If you observe any of these signs, call 9-1-1 immediately and note the time.
Time is essential during heart attack or stroke. Rapid treatment greatly increases the victim's chance of survival, and reduces complications like disability and rehabilitation time [2,3].