We Oklahomans know heart attack signs about as well as our peers. What we don’t do so well is call 911.
A recent issue of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report compared how much 71,994 residents of 14 states knew about heart attack symptoms and whether they knew to call 911.
Overall, awareness of all five warning signs was 31 percent. Eighty-six percent of respondents reported they would first call 911 if someone were having a heart attack. Among Oklahomans, only 81 percent would do so.
In 2005 approximately 920,000 people had heart attacks; approximately 157,000 were fatal. Fewer people would die from heart attacks if they sought medical care more quickly.
“Although emergency care and medical therapies for acute events have improved, studies have shown that the time from symptom onset to treatment overall has not decreased,” according to the report.
I’m guessing that awareness of heart attack is lacking, and people’s first reaction is to call a loved one or drive the victim to the hospital. Maybe loved ones don’t recognize what’s happening or downplay the seriousness of it. Or maybe people in some parts of the state have to wait for an ambulance to respond, making driving the heart attack victim to the hospital more of an option.
Jeff Raymond, Medical Writer