In the USA Today Your Health column, Kim Painter points out that an American Heart Association survey reveals that “just over half of” the female respondents “said they would” call 911 in the event of heart attack symptoms.
“Instead, many women would call their doctors, take an aspirin, or get to a hospital on their own, says study author Lori Mosca, director of preventive cardiology at New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Columbia University Medical Center.”
This trend is not gender exclusive, as “many men also respond to ominous symptoms with denial, says Angela Gardner, president of the American College of Emergency Physicians.”
A cardiologist with Harvard’s Health Line says this:
Here is what I recommend about chest pain and calling 911: If the discomfort (pain, pressure, squeezing) is severe, felt in the midchest area, occurs when you’re at rest, lasts at least five minutes, or is accompanied by lightheadedness, a sudden sweat, or unusual shortness of breath, make the call. If you have known coronary artery disease, and it feels like your typical angina, and it’s not relieved by three nitroglycerin pills, make the call.
When none of these is true, but the chest pain keeps recurring with exertion, exposure to cold, or psychological stress, or if you have been diagnosed with angina and the pain has gotten more severe or lasts longer, you don’t need to call 911, but you do need to call your doctor — pronto.
I tell my patients who are having symptoms of a heart attack (or, for that matter, a brain attack — stroke symptom) NOT to drive to the ER. ALWAYS call 911. Why?
- 911 can get to you faster than you can get to the ER.
- 911 can get to you safer than you can drive or be driven to the ER.
- If you try driving to the ER (or being driven to the ER) and become weak or unconscious, you then become a danger to others.
- 911 carries oxygen and medications that can increase your odds of survival.
- And, last but not least, when 911 takes you to the ER, you see a doctor immediately — not wait required.
The bottom line? If you or someone you love is having symptoms of a heart attack or brain attack, call 911. Immediately!