According to the Sunshine Coast Daily- the Sunshine Coast is a heart disease hotspot

With the most common reason recognised as "Chest pain" to enter into the emergency unit at Nambour hospital

Often people do not know the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, even after a numerous health education campaigns over the years. 

The best time to treat a heart attack is as soon as possible and within the first 20 minutes from onset of any signs or symptoms. Studies show that the people who have symptoms of a heart attack often delay, or wait to seek treatment - this can be a fatal mistake. 
When a person has a heart attack, one or more coronary arteries has a blockage which stops or reduces blood flow to that part of the heart. The result is part of the heart is starved of oxygen, which if uncorrected, may cause irreversible tissue damage or death. If a large part of the heart is starved of oxygen, the person could have a cardiac arrest if they do not seek early treatment.

Reasons people delay seeking medical attention include:

  • they are young and cannot believe it is happening to them 
  • symptoms are not what they expected 
  • they may deny the symptoms are serious and wait until they go away 
  • they may ask the advice of others, especially family members 
  • they may first try to treat the symptoms themselves, using aspirin or antacids 
  • they may think the symptoms are related to other health problems (such as, upset stomach, arthritis) 
  • they may put the care of others first (first take care of children or other family members) and not want to worry them. 
Waiting just a couple hours for medical help may kill you and when early treatment is not obtained, this will increase the amount of damage to your heart muscle, and reduce your chance of survival. 

What are the symptoms of a heart attack?
  • Generally speaking, the first sign of a heart attack is chest pain, however often people tell themselves and others around them that the chest pain is as a result of indigestion. 
  • Chest pain or discomfort in the centre of the chest - a “squeezing,” “heaviness” or “crushing” feeling that lasts for more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back. 
  • Pain or discomfort in other areas of the upper body including the arms, back, neck, jaw, or stomach. 
  • Difficulty breathing and shortness of breath. 
  • Sweating or “cold sweats”. 
  • Fullness, indigestion, or choking feeling (may feel like “heartburn”). 
  • Nausea or vomiting. 
  • Light-headedness. 
  • Extreme weakness or anxiety. 
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeats. 
Do not wait for your symptoms to “go away” 
Early recognition and treatment of heart attack symptoms can reduce the risk of heart damage and allow treatment to be commenced immediately. Even if you’re not sure your symptoms are those of a heart attack, you should still seek immediate medical attention to be sure.
The first thing you should do is to call the Ambulance (call triple zero / 000). Ambulance Officers are trained to recognise the signs and symptoms of a heart attack, and can give immediate drug treatment and oxygen therapy. 

Remember, chest pain can be the sign of a life threatening condition. If this situation arises, don't wait for it to go away or try and deal with it yourself - help is only a phone call away. 

Do yourself a favour and get your pain checked out. Call triple zero (000) for the ambulance.

At our First Aid Training Centre on the Sunshine Coast we have free charts available. Visit or email our First Aid Training Centre today to get your free chart so you know what to do if this ever happens to you or someone you know.

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