Most persons having a heart attack wait
too long to seek medical help–and that can be a fatal mistake. Patient
delay rather than transport or hospital delay is the biggest cause of
not getting rapid care for heart attacks.
Some patients are more likely than
others to delay. For instance, women, older persons, and minorities
are more likely to delay getting help.
As a result, most heart attack
victims wait 2 hours or more after their symptoms begin before they
seek medical help. This delay can result
in death or permanent heart damage – damage that can greatly reduce
the ability to do everyday activities.
People often take a wait-and-see
approach, delaying because they:
understand the symptoms of a heart attack and think that what they
are feeling is due to something else.
or unwilling to admit that their symptoms could be serious.
embarrassed about "causing a scene," or going to the hospital and
finding out it is a false alarm.
understand the importance of getting to the hospital right away.
If you have the warning signs of a
heart attack or think you may possibly be having a heart attack,
call 911 immediately. Do not delay!