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How To Spot The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Heart Attack Early

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How To Spot The Tell-Tale Signs Of A Heart Attack Early

A new NHS campaign aims to inform people of the early signs of a heart attack and what to do if you spot them.

Many people are aware that symptoms including a tightening of the chest and pains in the left arm may be indicative of an imminent heart attack, but the health service's new campaign is looking to tackle myths surrounding the condition and make people aware of the lesser known symptoms.

The campaign is being backed by celebrities such as One Foot in the Grave actor Richard Wilson and Soccer AM presenter Peter Dale, also known as Tubes, and comes after research found that three in four people believed a heart attack was the same as a cardiac arrest, in which a person's heart stops usually without warning.

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Man clutching heart (Alamy)
Man clutching heart (Alamy)

In comparison, a heart attack occurs when the supply of blood to the heart becomes blocked, starving it of oxygen and potentially causing serious muscle damage.

A press release from the NHS explains that while the early signs of a heart attack can vary, some of the most common include 'squeezing across the chest, sweating and a sense that something just isn’t right', though the person experiencing the symptoms will be 'conscious and breathing'.

When the campaign begins on Monday, February 14, an advert will show a person experiencing some of these early symptoms and remind viewers to dial 999 if they experience the symptoms of a heart attack. In research ahead of the campaign, the NHS found fewer than half of people said they would dial 999 if they or a loved one experienced lesser-known symptoms of heart attacks.

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NHS Heart Attack Centre (Alamy)
NHS Heart Attack Centre (Alamy)

The research also found that while 70% of those surveyed understood that pain in the chest is a symptom of a heart attack, just 41% knew sweating was a symptom and only 27% understood feeling weak, lightheaded or a feeling of general unease were also symptoms.

England's top doctor, NHS medical director Professor Stephen Powis, has stressed the importance of recognising these signs in helping to prevent heart attacks from becoming fatal.

He commented, 'Sadly, cardiovascular disease causes a quarter of all deaths across the country and we have identified this as the single biggest area where we can save lives over the next decade. This new NHS campaign will be a vital tool in that lifesaving mission – helping people to recognise when they or someone around them is experiencing a heart attack and when to seek early medical help cannot be underestimated.'

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Person on phone (Pixabay)
Person on phone (Pixabay)

Powis added, 'It can be easy to dismiss early symptoms as they don’t always feel severe, but it is never too early to dial 999 in this circumstance – and the faster you act, the better the chance of a full recovery'.

The NHS has reported there are more than 80,000 hospital heart attack admissions in England every year, with the overall survival rate for people experiencing a heart attack being seven in 10. The survival rate increases to nine in 10 for those who come forward for early hospital treatment.

The campaign will run from February 14 to March 31 and is the first of the NHS ‘Help Us Help You’ campaigns specific to heart attacks.

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Featured Image Credit: Alamy

Topics: News, Health, Life, NHS

Emily Brown
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