Thousands Die Not Realizing
They Are Having A Heart Attack
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 breathlessness.

Email Homepage