HomeNewsArticle Display

Heart failure occurs every 29 seconds

MINOT AIR FORCE BASE, N.D. -- Every 29 seconds, someone in the U.S. has an acute myocardial infarction or in everyday language, a heart attack. 

Every minute someone dies from a heart attack. Those statistics translate to 1.5 million heart attacks a year with 500,000 dying, usually quite suddenly. There is little difference between male or female, white, black or Hispanic, rich or poor. Heart disease is an equal-opportunity killer. While this number has decreased over the last decade with better medications and procedures, the best way to avoid a heart attack is prevention. 

An AMI is most commonly caused by coronary artery disease. Coronary arteries carry oxygen-rich blood to the heart muscle itself. Each squeeze of the heart muscle pushes our blood throughout the body delivering oxygen to every organ. Each squeeze is felt as a beat of the heart or at the wrist as a pulse. 

Like all muscles, if the heart muscle is short on oxygen from its arteries, it starts to cramp up causing chest pain. If the blockage lasts long enough, parts of the heart muscle can die or the whole heart can stop, causing sudden death. 

Blockage of the artery can be caused by a build-up of cholesterol on the inside of the artery due to spasm of the artery or by a clot of platelets and cholesterol blocking the artery or a combination of all three. While there are some heart attacks that hit out of the blue with no symptoms before the "big one" most of the time there are signals people can watch for before the initial impact. 

Chest pain is the most common symptom of coronary artery disease. Certainly, central or left-sided chest pain is common, but coronary artery disease may be present with pain in the left shoulder, behind the shoulder blade, in the middle of the back, in the upper abdomen or in the left arm or neck. Some may notice the pain only as they are exercising and it seems to go away as they finish exertion. 

People may also notice they just can't do as much as they were before without getting short of breath. Other symptoms indicating the heart is not getting enough oxygen is persistent dizziness, palpitations, nausea with abnormally heavy sweating or a sudden overall weakness. Coronary artery disease can cause the heart to work less efficiently and it may show up first as abnormal swelling in the legs or a sudden increase in weight. 

Many can honestly say they have had one of these symptoms once in their life and it was not a heart attack. The key is usually the intensity and duration that gets one's attention. 

The pain is usually quite impressive and tends to slow a person down or stop what they are doing. It usually lasts longer than one minute and generally not longer than 30 minutes without progressing. However, a person can have many small events occur with less and less activity. While a cardiac screening examination is not a guarantee of not having an AMI or coronary artery disease, it can go a long way in defining risk, treatment and other diseases that can mimic coronary artery disease. 

A helpful way to avoid a heart attack is to modify personal lifestyle. 

Smoking is one of the greatest risk factors. Every cigarette affects the efficiency and size of the blood vessels, decreasing blood and oxygen flow for seven minutes. Cigarettes decrease the number of good cholesterol in the blood- stream, letting and bad cholesterol build up in arteries causing blockages. 

Central obesity is a risk factor as well. People carrying a lot of weight in the abdomen have a higher risk of coronary artery disease and AMI. A healthy diet and regular exercise can help control risk factors. 

Controlling high blood pressure and diabetes are other important factors in decreasing the risk of heart disease. 

Lifestyle changes and early medical interventions can make a real difference in treating coronary artery disease and decrease the likelihood of becoming part of the acute myocardial infarction statistics. People who want to make some lifestyle changes should talk with their provider at the 5th Medical Group or the base health and wellness center. 
USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.

Contact Us

To reach the Minot Air Force Base Main Directory, call: Commercial (701) 723-7979 or DSN: 453-7979.   

To request Public Affairs support, please fill out an Air Force Form 833 and email to the Minot AFB Public Affairs workflow mailbox

Unfortunately, we are not accepting marquee requests since our marquee board is down for an undetermined amount of time. Thank you for understanding.

FacebookFacebook
InstagramInstagram
TwitterTwitter
FlickrFlickr
YouTubeYouTube