Doctors at a leading cardiac centre are urging Fylde coast residents to recognise the signs of a heart attack so they don’t miss out on potentially life saving treatment.
Dr Billal Patel, consultant cardiologist at the Lancashire Cardiac Centre based at Blackpool Victoria Hospital believes a significant number of heart attack cases are going untreated as patients are not recognising the symptoms or are staying at home so as not to be a burden on the NHS.
Dr Patel says that by doing this patients could be risking significant long-term damage by not coming to hospital and getting symptoms checked over.
As some NHS Trusts in the UK have seen a 50 per cent drop in patients presenting for cardiology and heart problems, Dr Patel has called on the Fylde coast community to recognise the symptoms of a heart attack and ensure they call a doctor or get themselves checked out as the NHS is definitely open for business.
“We noticed a trend early on” Dr Patel said. “Our own in-house data showed that there were fewer patients presenting with heart problems, and this trend was repeated up and down the country and around the world.
“At first we thought it might be because there were fewer heart attacks occurring, but we now understand that people are still suffering heart problems, but they are just not coming into hospital.
“Patients might be too scared to come into hospital or they think they might be a burden on the NHS during these busy times due to COVID-19.
“There are many patients who are simply not recognising the early signs of a heart-attack and ignoring the symptoms. My advice is that if you are suffering any of the symptoms for more than a few minutes then call 999 as we are open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.”
Dr Patel is calling on the Fylde coast community to recognise the symptoms early, these can include:
- chest pain – the chest can feel like it’s being pressed or squeezed by a heavy object, and pain can radiate from the chest to the jaw, neck, arms and back
- shortness of breath
- feeling weak or lightheaded, or both
- an overwhelming feeling of anxiety
Dr Patel’s plea comes as cardiology teams across the UK are aiming to raise awareness of heart disease and heart attacks as part of National Heart Month through February.
His team has put together a video of advice for spotting a heart attack https://youtu.be/mPgCyIYszT0. For more information on National Heart Month and for support in maintaining a healthy heart lifestyle, go to the official website of the British Heart Foundation www.bhf.org.uk