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Heart Disease Patients Unaware Of Heart Attack Symptoms

Armen Hareyan's picture

A study has found that heart disease patients are not aware of heart attack symptoms, which leads to increased risk of late heart attack treatment.

It is known that heart attack treatment is the most effective when it starts within an hour after the symptoms occur. However, most of patients receive treatment after from 2 to 3 hours, which negatively affects treatment effectiveness. It doesn't matter if heart attack is recurring or it is the first one, early treatment within an hour is still the most effective one.

It is also known that patients with previous heart attacks and heart disease are at higher risk for recurrence, so these patients need to be more attentive to heart attack symptoms. This study as aimed at finding out how informed high risk heart patients are about heart attack.

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A team of researchers from School of Nursing at the University of California, San Francisco examined 3522 heart patients who either had heart attack or had received heart disease treatment, such as angioplasty.

The study found that 44% of these patients were poorly informed about heart attack symptoms. The following groups were found to be more informed about heart symptoms than others: women, the most educated patients, younger patients, those undergone cardiac rehabilitation, and those treated by a heart specialist not a family doctor.

Study participants were asked about their knowledge of heart attack symptoms, such as nausea, pain in jaw, chest or left arm, and risk of recurrence. Patients lacking knowledge about heart attack reported that he signs can be because of other health conditions as well, leading to a prediction, that these patients are less likely to recognize heart attack signs early and receive proper treatment.

Study suggests that because hospital stays have been shortened for heart patients, doctors and nurses have no enough time to educate patients about the disease. Study urges the need of further researches to find new ways of educating heart disease patients about heart attack symptoms and risks. Educational programs will need to target especially elderly, men, those with low level of education, those who didn't pass cardiac rehabilitation, and those at higher risk for heart attack.