Could you make a potentially lifesaving New Year’s resolution?

West Midlands Ambulance Service are urging the public to make a New Year’s resolution for 2019 - to know what the signs of a heart attack are.

After seeing TV programmes where someone collapses with chest pain with a 'definite; heart attack, the Trust is using the new year to convey a message about what the reality is really like.

A heart attack is a circulation problem, where there’s a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of your heart. This shouldn't be confused with a cardiac arrest, which is an 'electrical' problem where the heart malfunctions and suddenly stops beating unexpectedly. 

Heart attacks can seriously damage the heart muscle and can be life-threatening. You should dial 999 immediately - the sooner you get help the better your chances of survival and rapid assistance could also reduce the level of damage meaning you’ll have a better quality of life going forward. Jason Wiles, Lead Paramedic for Emergency Care, said:

“As with most medical conditions, the signs depend on the individual. Pain in your chest that suddenly occurs and doesn’t go away is the classic symptom.  The pain may spread to your arm, neck, jaw, back or stomach.  

"For some, the pain or tightness is severe, while others just feel uncomfortable - you may also feel sick, sweaty, light headed or short of breath. However, the elderly, women, or those with diabetes may not get classic symptoms as the condition can cause nerve damage which affects how you feel pain. 


“Even if you aren’t sure, it’s important to seek medical attention to be on the safe side so phone for an ambulance immediately. Try to remain calm, answer the questions you’ll be asked as best you can as that will ensure you get the right help.


“You should sit and rest; getting up and walking around may put unnecessary strain on your heart. If possible, get someone else to open the door for the ambulance crew as this saves time.”

A heart attack is life-threatening. If you think you or anyone else is having a heart attack, call 999 for an ambulance immediately. You can get more information online.


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