With attendances at A&E Departments across the country down by roughly fifty per cent, there are concerns that people are not getting the help they need.
This is particularly important for serious conditions such as chest pain, which could be a sign of a heart attack or cardiac arrest.
A heart attack, sometimes known as a myocardial infarction or MI, is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked, usually by a blood clot. More often than not, symptoms start slowly and can persist for hours or even days before the attack itself.
A lack of blood to the heart can seriously damage the heart muscle, which could be life threatening or at least life changing with a lasting impact.
Conversely, a cardiac arrest occurs suddenly and often without warning. It is triggered by an electrical malfunction in the heart that causes an irregular heartbeat. The patient will lose consciousness and have no pulse. Death can occur within minutes if the victim does not receive treatment.
That’s why it is so important that everyone knows what the symptoms are and knows to get the correct help as quickly as possible, either for themselves or someone else. West Midlands Ambulance Service paramedic, Rob Moore, said:
“If you or a family member develop symptoms such as chest pain, this could be a heart attack and you should call 999 immediately.
“The pain might feel heavy or tight and it might spread to your arms neck or jaw. It could make you feel breathless, sick, sweaty or light-headed. Help us help you and save lives.”
More information can be found on the British Heart Foundation website at bhf.org.uk.