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Doctor's tips on what to do for heart health emergency

Cardiovascular disease is leading cause of death across the globe.

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. — Dr. Kashif Chaudhry is the director of cardiac electrophysiology at UPMC Williamsport. 

Newswatch 16 caught up with him to discuss heart health, something he says is a major topic in the United States.

"Every 40 seconds, someone in the US has a heart attack. That is 800,000 heart attacks in a year. When it comes to cardiac arrests, there are about 400,000 a year. That is about seven cardiac arrests every ten minutes," said Dr. Chaudhry.

He says both heart attacks and cardiac arrests can lead to death, but it is important to know the difference between the two.

"A heart attack is where you have a blockage in the blood vessel supplying blood to the heart muscle. Cardiac arrest is where the hearts stops beating. Multiple things could cause cardiac arrest, a heart attack is just one of them," he added.

When these emergencies do occur, folks nearby need to act fast to help save a life. 

Calling 911 is good, but sometimes you can do more for a heart attack.

"One thing you can do is have them chew aspirin. Just four baby aspirins, which is a full dose, just take that and call 911. That way, someone is there getting an EKG to determine if they are having an acute heart attack or something else," said Dr. Chaudhry.

If a person is passed out, it usually means cardiac arrest. Here is what you can do to help.

"The person who is experiencing the cardiac arrest would have passed out," Dr. Chaudhry said. "Call 911 right away and start CPR. That is the most important thing you can do." 

Dr. Chaudhry says a healthy diet and daily exercise can improve heart health. 

He also suggested talking to your family doctor about heart screenings and keeping an eye on your cholesterol.

See Healthwatch 16 stories on YouTube.

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