HomeHealthListen to your heart and act on the symptoms

Listen to your heart and act on the symptoms

Nearly one in five people ignore life-threatening heart symptoms, a new survey has revealed, writes Michael McHale

R.Research conducted by Blackrock Health as part of its new ‘Show Your Heart Some Love’ campaign, launched this month, shows that an alarming number of people fail to take action when experiencing symptoms that could be caused by a heart condition.

The national survey of 1,010 adults also showed that:

  • While more than three-quarters (77 percent) of people 18 and older have experienced symptoms that could be signs of a heart problem, 18 percent chose not to investigate its cause.
  • Of those who experienced a symptom such as shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, or dizziness, only half (53 percent) of those surveyed continued to talk to their doctor.
  • Among those who did not take action when experiencing heart-related symptoms, nearly a quarter (24 percent) said they thought the symptom was just a general sign of aging, while 20 percent believed the problem would improve with time. time.

“Early detection and treatment are very important when it comes to heart problems, and knowing when to see your doctor is the first step in detecting a life-threatening condition,” she advises. Dr Zain Sharifconsultant cardiologist at Blackrock Health.

Dr Zain Sharif. Photo: Chris Bellew/Fennell Photography

“Symptoms are so varied that they can often be mistaken for something else or simply considered insignificant, as we saw in our research with 12 percent of people thinking a symptom was caused by a non-cardiac problem.”

Cardiovascular disease is one of the most common causes of death in Ireland, with around 9,000 people dying here annually from conditions including coronary heart disease, stroke and other circulatory diseases.

To help get more people checked for heart problems, Blackrock Health recently launched an Acute Cardiac Assessment (ACA) service at its group of private hospitals, which includes the Blackrock Clinic, Galway Clinic and Hermitage Clinic in Lucan.

The ACA service offers a wide range of supports for patients, from initial assessment and diagnosis to treatment of urgent cardiac symptoms. Patients experiencing chest pain, palpitations, irregular heartbeat, or shortness of breath (suspected cardiac relationship) may self-refer to the service for evaluation.

“We want people to know the different signs to look out for so they can be referred to the Acute Cardiac Assessment service and hopefully rule out something serious or catch a heart problem as soon as possible,” added Dr. Sharif.

“We have so many technologically advanced diagnostic and treatment options available now that the earlier we can diagnose patients, the more we can offer them to ensure that any problem does not progress.”

Since its launch last year, Blackrock Health has found that of the patients who have attended the ACA service, more than one in five (22 percent) have been admitted to hospital for further testing or treatment.

Ann Malone used the service at the Hermitage Clinic after her wearable device alerted her to an irregular heartbeat. She subsequently received treatment for a heart condition.

“I didn’t really think there was any urgency around the irregular heartbeat that my watch alerted me to and I assumed it was just a minor issue,” he said, “but responding to that alert meant my heart issue was found and treated. early.”

Anna Malone. Photo: Naoise Culhane

Ann’s story highlights the benefits of wearable devices, and Blackrock Health research also shows that four in ten people say they currently use a wearable device to measure their heart’s performance.

Of those who say they use the devices, 38 percent say the device has given them a result related to their heart health that led them to seek medical advice from a health professional.

‘Show Your Heart Some Love’ aims to raise public awareness of the signs and symptoms that people of all ages should be aware of to ensure heart problems are diagnosed as early as possible.

The campaign also highlights the importance of the public being proactive with their health and responding to any symptoms that may be an early warning sign of a heart condition.

Blackrock Health’s ACA service has seen patients aged 20 and older presenting with symptoms, with men making up the majority (55 percent) of its users.

The research also showed that women are more likely than men to put off seeing their doctor about a possible heart problem.

More than one in five women (21 percent) who experienced symptoms did not take action, and 14 percent of women said they did not take action because they did not recognize that what they were experiencing could be a symptom of a heart problem. condition.

“Heart disease is often mistakenly thought of as a male health problem, but cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death for women,” Dr. Carla Canniffeconsultant cardiologist at Blackrock Health.

“Of the one in five people using the Acute Cardiac Assessment service who are admitted to hospital for further investigation or treatment, nearly half are women (46 percent). It’s important that everyone is aware of the signs and symptoms to look out for, but we want women to become more aware so that whatever they’re experiencing isn’t mistaken for something else,” she added.

Blackrock Health hospitals have a total of 450 inpatient beds, including 28 ICU beds and 24 operating rooms, while more than 75 percent of its rooms are single occupancy. Last year the group treated more than 335,000 patients, while it currently employs more than 2,800 people in Ireland and gives patients access to 600 highly-qualified consultants across 50 medical specialities.

The ACA service is open to anyone over the age of 16 who is experiencing symptoms that could be heart related. The initial evaluation fee is not covered by health insurance and varies between €200-250 depending on the clinic, while the costs for follow-up tests and treatment are capped at €595.

Blackrock Health offers patients quick and easy access through GP referrals and self-referrals. Since group formation has no impact on a patient’s health insurance or access. The Blackrock Clinic is still classified as a high-tech hospital and the status of the other clinics has not changed.

GPs can check if Blackrock Clinic is covered by their patient’s insurance using the clinic’s cover check site at cover.blackrock-clinic.es. More information is available at blackrockhealth.ie/acute-cardiac-assessment/.

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