Don't Ignore Possible Heart Attack Symptoms
During the COVID-19 outbreak, physicians with the TriHealth Heart Institute have noticed a decline in heart patients from last year at this time. Cardiologist Jonathan Hassel, MD believes ignoring the symptoms may be putting your life at risk.
“Ignoring symptoms now could lead to more complex issues down the road, even death,” said Dr. Hassel. “If left untreated, some of the issues may be irreversible.”
Dr. Hassel does say there are legitimate fears of COVID-19 keeping people from seeking help, as well as circumstances that might be masking symptoms.
“I think it is multi-factorial. Some people may be more afraid. Some may not be as active or as stressed right now,” said Dr. Hassel. “There isn’t enough data to say for sure why people aren’t coming to the hospital with heart attack symptoms.”
What is the Risk of COVID-19 if I Come to the Hospital?
Dr. Hassel assures every safety measure is being taken at TriHealth locations. Every patient is screened upon arrival to the emergency department. Those who show any sign for potential COVID-19 infection are taken to a separate area. All patients receive a mask to wear as well upon entry.
“Heart patients are at a higher risk of developing COVID-19 if exposed,” said Dr. Hassel. “We are keeping patients at a distance of six feet or greater in our waiting rooms to further prevent the spread of the virus.”
TriHealth is also screening each team member as they report for their shift. This will help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Look for the Warning Signs
The warning signs of a heart attack are very similar to some of the signs and symptoms of COVID-19, especially those involving chest discomfort. That is why it is VERY important that you don’t ignore those signs and symptoms.
“It is important to seek care when you need it,” said Dr. Hassel. “Waiting will have consequences. It may be immediate death or bad consequences later.”
Don’t wait to get help if you experience any of these heart attack warning signs. Some heart attacks are sudden and intense. But most start slowly, with mild pain or discomfort. Pay attention to your body and call 911 if you experience:
- Chest discomfort. Most heart attacks involve discomfort in the center of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes – or it may go away and then return. It can feel like uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain.
- Discomfort in other areas of the upper body. Symptoms can include pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
- Shortness of breath. This can occur with or without chest discomfort.
- Other signs. Other possible signs include breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
TriHealth Heart Institute is here for you; please know that during this pandemic, we are still here to take care of your emergent health care needs, providing the expert cardiac care patients expect 24/7 in person or via video consult if you have concerns about coming to the hospital or office. Call 513 865 2222 with questions or to schedule an appointment.
Last Updated: April 21, 2020