to have problems spotting a serious asthma or heart attack and stroke,
particularly when you or the affected person develop symptoms quickly
and are very unwell.
who are seriously ill look seriously ill and so when you’re concerned
that you or someone else is suffering from an acute and severe illness
speak to your GP immediately or call for an ambulance. But in many
cases, events may not appear quite as dramatic.
asthma can get worse gradually and an asthma attack can sometimes
look less severe than it actually is. Heart attacks and strokes
may also present in quite a subtle way at times.
warning symptoms and signs early allows you to get help quickly
HAVING A STROKE?
If the blood
supply to your brain gets interrupted, you suffer a stroke. It may
be more apparent to those around you that you are suffering. If
blood cannot reach certain areas of your brain, the affected brain
cells behind the blockage can die and parts of your brain don’t
function properly afterwards.
The two main
types of stroke are ischaemic stroke, where a clot narrows or blocks
a blood vessel in your brain, and a hemorrhagic stroke, when a blood
vessel in your brain bursts causing bleeding into your brain.
(also known as a transient ischaemic attack or TIA) is very similar
to a stroke but does improve by itself within 24 hours.
TIA can be a warning sign that a more serious stroke may be imminent,
which is why you need to take it as seriously as a stroke
You are at
higher risk of suffering a stroke if you have underlying health
conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, raised cholesterol-and
an irregular heartbeat known as atrial fibrillation, or if strokes
run in your family.
may also contribute, if you smoke, are obese, or inactive, have
a poor diet or drink too much alcohol.
You can recognise
a stroke by any of the following features which may appear alone
or in combination:
- The face
has fallen to one side and is unable to smile properly. It may
- One arm
is noticeably weaker than the other and the arms cannot be lifted
and held out in front.
- The legs
are weak and cannot move properly.
- Sight is
lost in one eye, partially or completely. If you suspect someone
has had a stroke, call for an ambulance. The sooner you call for
help, the better the chance of a good recovery.
YOU TELL IF YOU’RE HAVING A HEART ATTACK?
In a heart
attack, the blood vessels supplying your heart suddenly become blocked
and your heart muscle doesn’t get enough oxygen. The result is usually
The main danger
of a heart attack is that your heart may stop beating, and so you
need to treat a possible heart attack as an emergency, even if you
still feel relatively well.
aren’t always easy to spot but call for an ambulance if you recognise
one or more of the following typical symptoms which can occur alone
or in any combination.
- You experience
persistent, central chest pain that feels like a tightness or
heavy pressure or like someone sitting on your chest.
- You have
a pain that spreads to your neck, jaw or down one or both of your
arms. Sometimes the pain also spreads to your back or you feel
it in your upper abdomen rather than in your chest (a bit like
- You have
pain and in addition feel breathless, nauseous and sweaty, and
your skin feels cold to touch. You may even be gasping for breath
- You have
chest pain and collapse without much warning.
- You develop
a pale appearance or blue lips.
- You have
chest pain and notice that your heart is suddenly beating unusually
fast and your pulse may be irregular. However, if you suffer from
pre-existing conditions such as anxiety, a fast heart rate may
be normal for you.
Shock is a
serious medical condition. It means that not enough blood is pumping
through your body and your vital organs, such as your brain or your
heart, do not get enough oxygen. In more severe shock, people become
aggressive, restless and gasp for air. Eventually they become drowsy
and lose consciousness.
heart stops beating. The skin may become clammy, cold and pale.
If shock is severe the lips may appear blue and skin can appear
grey or blue in colour. You may also notice excessive sweating.
Important causes of shock are:
Severe burns can cause shock when fluid evaporates from wounds.
- Heart problems:
Suffering from an acute heart problem such as a heart attack can
blood: You can develop shock if you lose large amounts of blood
due to an injury.
fluid: People lose too much fluid due to excessive sweating, severe
vomiting or diarrhoea.
Various poisons can lead to severe problems with your circulation
and can also cause shock.