It’s the second week in January and some of the New Year’s resolutions may already have been broken.
Here’s one that shouldn’t be broken though: let’s all do our bit to reduce heart attack deaths.
St John Ambulance tells us that 92,000 people in the UK suffer heart attacks each year, and a third of those die as a result.
Now, the nation’s leading first aid charity is urgently calling for people to help them reduce heart attack deaths by watching and sharing a six-second film on www.sja.org.uk/4ps
Watching the film will mean more people can spot the signs, and that could make the difference between a life lost and a life saved.
New research from St John Ambulance shows that more than two-thirds (70 per cent) of people in the East Midlands wrongly believe that a heart attack is a cardiac arrest.
In fact, a heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle suddenly becomes blocked and the heart can’t get oxygen.
The symptoms of a heart attack are known as the “Four Ps”: Pain (in the chest), Pulse (weak or rapid), Perspiration (or profuse sweating), and Pale skin.
If these are spotted swiftly, and appropriate treatment is given, it need not lead to a potentially fatal cardiac arrest – when the person stops breathing and requires resuscitation.
Being able to recognise the first signs of a heart attack could save lives.
Chris Thornton, regional director of St John Ambulance in the East Midlands, said: “We want to give people the chance to make an achievable – and potentially life saving – New Year’s resolution.
“Help us to reduce heart attack deaths by watching our quick steps on how to spot a heart attack and share it with your friends. We hope it isn’t, but this could be the year you need to use it.”
Some of the signs to look for:
• Persistent central chest pain - often described as vice-like or a heavy crushing pressure
• Pain spreading (radiating) to the jaw, neck and down one or both arms
• Discomfort high in the abdomen, similar to indigestion
• Possible collapse without warning
• Ashen skin and blueness at the lips
• Rapid, weak pulse which may be irregular
• Profuse sweating, skin cold to the touch
• Gasping for air (air hunger)
• Nausea and/or vomiting.