- Prompt attention increases survival chances
- Thousands of lives are lost each year
because people do not realise they are having a heart attack, mistaking
the early signs for indigestion or another minor problem.
- Every year more than 300,000 people in
Britain have a heart attack. Yet despite the fact that the condition is
so common, a study published in the British Medical Journal suggests that
many people do not recognise the danger signals until it is too late.
- Researchers found that more than half
of those they questioned about their heart attack said they delayed going
to hospital because they thought they were suffering from something else
like indigestion or a viral infection.
- One sufferer took an indigestion pill
after having a heart attack, then when that did not work, drank a glass
of lemonade and sucked a mint.
- The report's author, Professor Michael
Calnan, of the Centre for Health Services Studies at the University of
Kent, studied 43 heart attack patients. Half of them waited more than four
hours before seeking medical help.
- He said: "Those that went to hospital
promptly had similar symptoms to those who delayed seeking help but they
had a broader understanding of what a heart attack involved.
- "The delayers felt it wasn't what
a heart attack should be like. One sufferer told us he was very concerned
about wasting NHS resources."
- Doctors advise that a heart attack can
start with a indigestion-like pain, accompanied by sweating, nausea and