NHS doctors are calling for better awareness of early heart attack symptoms to save lives.
The NHS claims that thousands of lives could be saved if people were aware of some of the early and less well-known signs, including sweating and tightness in the chest.
A survey recently revealed that less than 50% of people would call 999 if they noticed early warning signs or some of the more vague symptoms of a heart attack. Most people wait until they have more noticeable, advanced symptoms, which means that the chances of survival are lower.
In England, more than 80,000 people are admitted to hospital every year with heart attack symptoms. Around 70% of people survive a heart attack, but the proportion rises to 90% among those who seek urgent advice and undergo hospital treatment early.
A new NHS campaign has launched to raise awareness of the signs and symptoms of heart attacks, including sweating, tightness in the chest, a feeling of heaviness or pressure in the chest and acute anxiety, which is similar to a panic attack. The aim is to encourage people to call 999 if they suspect that they may be having a heart attack.
A poll showed that only 41% of adults knew that sweating was a symptom of a heart attack, and only 27% were aware that feeling light-headed and uneasy could be a potential warning sign.
Professor Stephen Powis, medical director at NHS England, said that early treatment could save thousands of lives. Cardiovascular deaths cause around a quarter of deaths in England, but this is an area where the NHS could improve figures dramatically.
The new awareness campaign, which runs from February 14th until March 31st, is designed to educate people about the symptoms of heart attacks and encourage them to call 999 as soon as they spot signs.
The campaign also provides information about cardiac arrest, which is different from heart attacks. In many cases, there is no warning of cardiac arrest and death can occur very quickly without immediate intervention.
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