One in two unaware of ‘life-threatening’ signs of a heart attack, doctor says

NHS details signs of a heart attack

Between August 4 to August 10, 2023, there were 2,003 adult participants who took part in the Censuswide survey.

A whopping 45 percent of respondents in England said they would not recognise the signs of a heart attack.

More worryingly, 51 percent of respondents over the age of 55, who are at higher risk of a heart attack, didn’t feel they knew the symptoms to look out for.

To help raise awareness about the symptoms of a heart attack, TV GP Dr Chris George starred in a video on the subject matter.

“The signs of a heart attack can vary from person to person, and don’t always feel as severe as you may expect,” said Dr George.

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“While the most common symptom is chest pain, many people experience chest tightness accompanied with a feeling of unease.”

Dr George added highlighted the symtoms of the “life-threatening condition” as:

  • Chest, jaw, neck and back pain
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling light-headed
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating.

Dr George cautioned: “Don’t be tempted to dismiss the signs of a heart attack, or to wait and see what happens.

“It’s never too early to call 999 and to describe your symptoms [to the emergency services].”

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The survey’s results revealed some additional findings that are very concerning.

For example, nearly 72 percent of respondents are unaware of the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest.

A high number of people wrongly assumed that a cardiac arrest was another term to describe a heart attack.

The difference between a cardiac arrest and a heart attack

While both conditions are life-threatening, a person will still be conscious while having a heart attack.

A heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart becomes blocked, which can result in serious damage.

Cardiologist Professor Nick Linker said: “Every moment that passes during a heart attack increases heart muscle damage.

“And nearly all of this damage occurs in the first few hours of an attack.”

Meanwhile, when a cardiac arrest occurs, the person will suddenly fall unconscious, their heart will stop completely, and the person affected can die within minutes without treatment.

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