2022 COVID-19 Response Campaign

The COVID-19 pandemic continues to disrupt the world and, in particular our health care systems. Many people are slow to seek medical help when experiencing obvious cardiac symptoms. Many remain fearful of going to their doctor or to hospital. Many are cancelling important medical appointments. These delays in seeking help and commencing treatments can be life-threatening. It’s time to put your heart health before the fear of COVID-19.

Watch now – Prioritising your Heart Health

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Never delay seeking medical help

If you are experiencing a heart or stroke emergency – this is NOT the time to ‘stay at home’.

When your heart says so, #JustGo.

  • The message is simple and clear – If you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, don’t delay – Every minute counts. If you have chest pain or other heart symptoms – such as shortness of breath, severe pain in the throat, neck, back, stomach or shoulders that lasts for more than 15 minutes – you must call an ambulance. Equally, if you are living with a heart condition and if you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms contact your doctor or go to a hospital as soon as possible.

  • One of the unintended consequences of the COVID-19 messaging to ‘Stay at Home’ is very high levels of fear of visiting a doctor or going to hospital. A survey on the impact of COVID-19 by the Global Heart Hub across 19 countries reported that the biggest fear of heart patients is contracting the virus and their second biggest fear is visiting their doctor or going to hospital.

  • In recent months, many people with heart and stroke emergencies have delayed seeking medical help or decided to just ‘sit it out’ and stay at home because of their fear of COVID-19. This delay in taking action has resulted in worse outcomes, ranging from unnecessary loss of life to people being left with disability, chronic heart conditions and poorer quality of life.

  • Doctors are reporting that those who delay in seeking medical help are in a far worse condition when they finally arrive at hospital and they are often too late to benefit from the life-saving treatments that are normally available to them. Medical advice has always been to act quickly when it comes to symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. “Time is muscle” – the longer you wait with a heart attack, the more damage that occurs to your heart muscle. The same applies in the case of stroke.

  • Be assured that the risk of coronavirus infection in hospital has been minimised for those being admitted with heart attacks or strokes. Remember that the risk of dying from an untreated heart attack is 10 times higher than dying from COVID-19.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

Get involved!

Download the social media graphics:

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Know the signs and symptoms and when to #JustGo:

HEART ATTACK

Typical symptoms of a heart attack include:

  • Chest pain, tightness, or discomfort that comes on with physical exertion or emotional distress and that is relieved by rest. Sometimes this exertional or emotional chest discomfort can spread to the left arm or jaw area. If a heart attack is severe, these symptoms can persist when you are resting. You may feel dizzy (light headed), nauseous sweaty or short of breath. These symptoms may not be as obvious if you are female or have diabetes.

STROKE

Typical symptoms of a stroke include:

  • Sudden loss of speech, vision, ability to walk, or power in your hands or legs.
  • No warning signs – sudden loss of ability to do something you normally can do
  • Sudden weakness of the face, arms, or legs
  • Droop on one side of your face
  • Sudden confusion or trouble speaking or understanding others
  • Sudden loss of vision in half the visual field
  • Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, or loss of balance or coordination
  • Sudden severe headache with no known cause

HEART FAILURE

Typical symptoms of heart failure include:

  • Shortness of breath with exertion that is out of keeping with your normal fitness, usually associated with swelling in the feet and ankles or abdominal bloating and reduced appetite, due to fluid retention. Shortness of breath while lying down in bed that is relieved by sitting up and weight gain over a short period of time (>2kg over 2 days) are also symptoms.

HEART VALVE DISEASE

Typical symptoms of heart valve disease, especially in those over the age of 65 years of age, include:

  • Shortness of breath or dizziness with exertion that is out of keeping with your normal fitness, can also be accompanied by symptoms of heart attack or heart failure (as described above).

FAMILIAL HYPERCHOLESTEROLEMIA (FH)

  • All of the above symptoms in a person younger than 55 who has a diagnosis of FH, has a family member diagnosed with FH or has multiple other family members with a history of heart disease or stroke.

Take control of your heart health

Own your heart health by recognising and tracking your symptoms, reaching out to your healthcare provider and following through with your treatment plan.

When your heart needs you, #StepUp.

  • Know the signs and symptoms of heart disease. Be informed. If something doesn’t feel right, research your symptoms through a reputable resource like your National Health Service or your local heart group. If you have been diagnosed with a heart condition, it is important to watch out for any new or worsening symptoms.

  • Track your symptoms. Be aware. It is so important to track the day, time, frequency and intensity of your symptoms. This information will be very helpful to both you and your doctor in tracking your condition. Tracking your symptoms will also help you recognise if your symptoms are worsening and if you need urgent care. Once diagnosed, it’s important to keep track of symptoms and report any sudden changes. Download our symptom tracker here: Heart Disease / Heart Valve Disease / Heart Failure symptom trackers. 

  • Know when to connect with your healthcare provider. Don’t hesitate or delay. Early recognition of symptoms is key to ensure the best possible treatment and health outcome. If you have signs or symptoms of heart disease, are living with a heart condition and are experiencing worsening symptoms, contact your healthcare provider to arrange a consultation as soon as possible.

      • Note: If you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack or stroke, Don’t delay – Every minute counts. If you have chest pain or other heart attack symptoms – such as pain in the throat, neck, back, stomach or shoulders that lasts for more than 15 minutes – you must call an ambulance.
  • Prepare for your consultation. Be ready. Once you have a date confirmed with your healthcare provider, it’s important to compile all your medical information and bring it with you to your appointment, including a list of all medications you are on, your symptom tracker with details of all the symptoms you have been experiencing, and any other information to help your healthcare provider provide the best possible care. To help you with your medical appointment, download our virtual consultation guide here. 

  • Important to keep your appointments and not to delay your treatment. Be on time. Appointments may be rescheduled or cancelled due to COVID-19. When you do get an appointment, it is vital that you attend and be seen by your healthcare provider.

  • Stay in touch with your healthcare provider. Be Proactive. Keep in touch to ensure your treatment is planned and takes place as soon as possible.

Get involved!

Download the social media graphics:

EN | DE | HI | IL | JP | BR | ES | MX

To find your local CVD patient organisation, affiliated to the Global Heart Hub, click below.

Due to the continuing impact of COVID-19, Global Heart Hub collaborated with the Boehringer Ingelheim/Lilly Alliance on this response campaign. 

For more information, please contact the Global Heart Hub: info@globalhearthub.org