Irish people are being urged to recognize the symptoms of a heart attack and call an ambulance immediately as new research shows that many Irish fail to do so. Only half of the 6,300 who suffer from heart attacks present themselves to a hospital or call an ambulance.
The Irish Heart Foundation is particularly urging men to recognize the symptoms and call an ambulance. Their new campaign “Don’t die of embarrassment”
Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation and consultant cardiologist said “It is shocking to think that almost 6 out of 10 people know heart attack symptoms but when it comes to getting help, only half of these will arrive by ambulance.”
She emphasized that every minute lost during a heart attack means further damage being done to the heart muscle. “Too often the signs are ignored until it is too late or delays occur by going first to the GP, calling a family member or friend or even by driving yourself to hospital which is extremely dangerous.
Our message is simple – don’t die of embarrassment, pick up the phone and dial 999 immediately,” she told Journal.ie.
Nicky Byrne, a member of the Irish boyband Westlife has been helping promote the “Don’t die of embarrassment” campaign. Byrne lost his own father to a heart attack in 2009.
Speaking at the launch of the campaign he said “We all know someone who has had a heart attack and the symptoms are not always what you think. It does not always have to be a Hollywood heart attack.
That’s what happened to my dad…He wasn’t feeling well but, like many men, he didn’t want to cause a fuss.”
Like many Irishmen Nicky’s father waited for too long before asking for help. Nicky explained “He had a pain in his lower stomach the day before he passed. We now know he was having a heart attack. At just 60 years old, he passed away in November 2009″.
Heart attack symptoms can be very diverse ranging from chest pain, a pain in the neck, arm, back or jaw, breathlessness, sweating, dizziness, nausea and vomiting.
Here's an instructional video on how to recognize a heart attack: