To mark National Heart Week (2-8 May), the Heart Foundation has released new research that suggests more than half of all Australians wouldn’t know what to do if they were having a heart attack.
While most people know the typical warning signs of a heart attack such as chest pain and arm pain, nearly nine out of ten people surveyed do not recognize other equally serious signs, such as jaw, neck, shoulder or back pain.
The Heart Foundation says they found the results of the new survey rather alarming and a key priority for the health organisation this week will be raising awareness about the range of heart attack warning signs.
“Heart attack warning signs aren’t always what you think. Symptoms are not necessarily sudden or severe and some people don’t experience chest pain at all,” said Tony Thirlwell, CEO of the Heart Foundation (NSW).
“Knowing the warning signs and what to do in the event of a heart attack could save your life or the life of a loved one. Quick action is essential because the longer you wait, the more your heart muscle is damaged.”
The survey also found that almost a quarter (23%) of Australians would not call an ambulance if they thought they were having a heart attack, as they fear embarrassment if it turns out to be a false alarm.
Allan Loudfoot, General Manager Clinical Services, Ambulance Service of NSW, said: “A lot of people ignore heart attack warning signs, but that delay can cost you your life. If you think you might be having a heart attack, call Triple Zero. Treatment starts the moment you call and if it turns out to be a false alarm, then that’s the best thing that could happen.”
“Our paramedics would much rather attend to a false alarm than arrive too late to save a life,” Mr Loudfoot added.
Warning Signs of Heart Attack:
Heart attack warning signs may include pain, pressure, heaviness or tightness in one or more parts of the upper body (chest, neck, jaw, arm(s), shoulder(s) or back) in combination with other symptoms of nausea, shortness of breath, dizziness or a cold sweat.
For more information, visit www.heartattackfacts.org.au or call the Heart Foundation’s Health Information Service on 1300 36 27 87.
SOURCE: Heart Foundation