Harvard Heart Letter

Know the warning signs

Don't be left wondering when a stroke or heart attack strikes.

Two-thirds of Americans can't identify the signs of a heart attack and say what needs to be done when one strikes. That's the unsettling news from a survey done by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The longer you wonder "Am I having a heart attack?" or "Am I having a stroke?" the longer your heart or brain cells may be cut off from life-sustaining oxygen. (You don't get much time to think about a cardiac arrest "" a few seconds after it hits, you're unconscious.)

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