Section 2: Why Don't Patients Seek Immedicate Medical Attention?

There are a number of different reasons that patients delay treatment: 


The patient may not perceive the mild discomfort as life-threatening.  Mild symptoms are easy to ignore and put on the back burner.  Patients may even be upset if we encourage them to seek medical advice.


Because we all lead busy lives, we do not usually respond to mild discomfort.  We continue with the task at hand, hoping the discomfort will just go away.  We do not expect that it will worsen and perhaps even incapacitate.


If mild symptoms turn out to be nothing of importance, the patient would be embarrassed by the fuss made.  It is embarrassing to go to the emergency room of a hospital if nothing of consequence is wrong.  Ambulance sirens attract attention.


First responders or bystanders may be easily swayed by the rationalizations and denial of the patient. It is easier to go about your business than to be persistent.


Patients may not be informed of the importance of a quick response.  They may not know that 85% of damage takes place in the first two hours of a heart attack. They may not recognize the early warning signs and may not know the extent of damage that can take place without intervention.


Patients may confuse the early warning signs of heart attack with heartburn or indigestion and self-medicate, delaying a lifesaving visit to the hospital.


Patients may not appreciate the heart pump for its marvelous role in the pursuit of full activity.  They do not see the cardiac engine as a finely built apparatus which must be exercised and cared for.


Patients just wait it out, hoping the symptoms will go away.  They do not realize that time is critical and that full damage can take place within hours.



  Lesson for 3: Overcoming Patients Reluctance Lesson for 1: Questions About Heart Attacks

Listen to Your Heart!

  • Heart attacks need not kill or destroy heart muscle if you listen when your body is trying to tell you something.
  • Be aware of a pressure - not necessarily pain - in the chest. If it subsides when you rest, but increases with activity, it is your warning of a heart attack. Quick treatment by experts can stop it.
  • Get medical help as soon as possible. Go straight to the nearest hospital emergency room. And don't try to rationalize it away as something else. Your body knows what it is talking about.
  • Delay in seeking medical attention is the real risk factor. It is more important than cholesterol, smoking or other risk factors.
  • Early Heart Attack Care is knowing the subtle danger signs and symptoms and acting upon them before damage occurs.
  • By listening to your heart, many heart attacks might be prevented.