Within the last year, medical professionals have noticed a trend of people ignoring symptoms of a heart attack, leading to more deaths.
In a virtual presentation last Thursday, Cardiologist Bradley Martin, a physician with Iredell Health System’s Statesville Cardiovascular Clinic, sought to help people recognize these symptoms of cardiovascular conditions and how to respond.
“Certain conditions such as myocardial infarctions and stroke require early recognition to get the best outcomes possible,” Martin said.
Martin has been a cardiologist for more than 10 years and joined the health system’s Statesville Cardiovascular Clinic in August 2020. His presentation was the first in a free series called Healthy Hearts, a month-long virtual seminar series held every Thursday at 6pm. Presentations cover a variety of topics related to heart health.
Martin showed graphs indicating that people were not seeking medical care for cardiac emergencies and that this was causing more deaths. He then showed a study indicating that patients seeking care in emergency rooms don’t have a high risk of contracting COVID-19.
“We at Iredell have done a great job at protecting patients and protecting our staff,” Martin said. “So, I want to put everybody’s mind at ease that no matter where you are, seek medical attention if you develop any concerning symptoms to be evaluated. It is safe to be done in 2021, even during the pandemic.”
Martin listed potential heart attack symptoms – including chest pressure, shoulder pain, sweating, palpitation, chest discomfort, upper-back pain, shortness of breath, arm pain, unusual fatigue, nausea, lightheadedness, chest pain, and indigestion – and pointed out that most of the symptoms occurred less than 65 percent of the time when people were actually having heart attacks because heart attacks cause a variety of those different symptoms for everyone.
“It illustrated that none of these symptoms can you just hang your hat on that, ‘Yes, this is a problem,’ or, ‘Yes, this is not a problem.’ It’s highly variable in how people manifest their symptoms. I often tell my patients, ‘If I have 20 people in the room with a heart attack, they’re all going to give you a little bit of a different story.’”
People feel that there is something wrong when they are experiencing unrelenting discomfort. And when these symptoms are added together, it becomes much more likely that you are suffering a heart attack.
Martin urged patients to seek emergency care with new, unfamiliar discomfort or marked worsening of previously experienced pains.
He encourages patients to see their primary care provider when they have less concerning symptoms, such as a fleeting palpitation or feeling short of breath with certain activities, but nothing so severe that they can’t catch their breath.
“There are a variety of things that can cause different conditions. Primary care providers can guide you to the best provider possible,” Martin said.
Martin sees patients in Statesville, Mooresville and Taylorsville, and is accepting new patients. To schedule an appointment, call 704-873-1189.
To learn more about the Healthy Hearts series, visit www.iredellhealth.org/calendar.