Keep in mind: While COVID-19 has claimed more than 1.6 million lives worldwide in 2020, heart disease causes the death of more than 7 million people each and every year.
If you or someone in your household is experiencing heart attack symptoms, every minute you wait before seeking medical care is life threatening and could be causing irreparable damage.
If you have a known heart condition, continued care, tests and medication are important to manage symptoms and avoid additional damage to your heart.
Keeping your heart healthy should always be your priority, including these difficult times.
Should you experience any of the following, call emergency services on 112 immediately and let them assess your symptoms.
Typically: pressure, burning or a tight sensation in the chest
Sometimes, sudden shortness of breath
Often accompanied by sweating & nausea
Many patients report having similar symptoms coming and going in the days before their full-blown heart attack. Do not ignore these warning signs.
The pain may extend to the left or right arm, to the throat, neck, back, stomach or jaw.
You should also seek immediate care of you experience the symptoms of stroke:
Arm or leg weakness
Trouble speaking or difficulty to understand speech
There is an optimal window to treat emergency heart situations. The longer a cardiac emergency is untreated, the worse the outcome may be.
A study in the UK showed that 40% fewer people with heart attacks went to the hospital in April 2020 compared to before the COVID-19 pandemic. 1
Particularly in lockdown periods, doctors reported that patients delay seeking medical care: up to 48% were estimated to delayed treatment beyond the window for optimal care. 2
1. Mafham MM et al Lancet 2020
2. Pessoa-Amorim G et al,EHJ Quality of Care and Clinical Outcomes, July 2020
Typical symptoms of a heart attack include pressure or a burning or tightening sensation in your chest. The pain may extend to the left or right arm, to the throat, neck, back, stomach or jaw. Symptoms also include sudden shortness of breath, sometimes severe sweating and nausea. If any such symptoms occur and last for more than about 5 minutes, you must call an ambulance.
Many patients with a heart attack report that they have felt similar symptoms coming and going, lasting for several minutes at a time, in the days and weeks before their full-blown heart attack. Many patients also report that they had started to notice tightness in the chest or unusual shortness of breath when exercising, walking fast, or climbing a stair. If you experience any of this, make sure to contact a chest pain clinic or your physician for a very urgent appointment. If symptoms are severe or last more than 5 minutes, call an ambulance immediately.