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Have heart attack symptoms? Don’t delay emergency medical care

One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease, CDC states

February is Heart Month and it’s very important to know the signs of a heart attack so as to not delay care, especially during the coronavirus pandemic.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, heart disease is the leading cause of death for men, women, and people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States.

The CDC also reports that about 655,000 Americans die from heart disease each year; that’s one in every four deaths.

Dr. Thomas Pollard, director of cardiovascular surgery at Baptist Health System, explained the most common signs of a heart attack: chest pain, shortness of breath, nausea, indigestion, sweating and palpitations.

Pollard said it’s of utmost importance to contact your physician, or even go to the emergency room if needed, when having heart attack symptoms.

Why is it important to not delay care during COVID-19?

“There’s actually a drop in heart attacks in some cities -- up to 50%,” Pollard said. “It’s not really that COVID-19 is protective, but it’s really under-reporting of patients just not going to see physicians for things that they might normally do so. The downside of that is that we sometimes see patients later in their illness. Heart conditions are much more difficult to treat when the patient presents later in their disease state.”

What are the best ways to prevent a heart attack?

Stay active with regular exercise, don’t smoke and eat a healthy, well-balanced diet.

“If you have a history of heart disease and you have COVID, it’s even more important to stay in close contact with your physicians and to get regular follow-ups,” Pollard said.


The Baptist Health System provides lifesaving and heart preserving services and treatments in high-tech facilities, including its accredited chest pain centers, cardiac catheterization labs and outpatient rehabilitation centers.

The system includes six acute care hospitals that offer more than 1,700 licensed beds and have all earned Chest Pain Center Accreditation and Primary Stroke Center Certification. St. Luke’s Baptist is a Comprehensive Stroke Center.

If you are interested in virtual classes on hearth health, breastfeeding, stroke awareness, baby care, car seat safety or newborn care, click or tap here.