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Heart Attack Awareness Campaign

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Call 999 at the first sign of a heart attack.

Too often men delay in getting to hospital – they don’t want to cause a fuss or they waste vital time calling family or friends first – which can prove fatal. Together with Nicky Byrne and his family, our charity wants to save more lives from heart attack. Our message is simple, don’t die of embarrassment - call 999 at the first sign of a heart attack.

The Irish Heart Foundation heart attack TV and radio campaign was funded until April 2012 with money raised by Nicky Byrne and family, supported by sponsors AstraZeneca Cardiovascular, donations from the Irish public and a grant from Medtronic Foundation.

We need your help to keep the life-saving message on air and encourage men to call 999 at the first sign of heart attack. Westlife’s Nicky Byrne knows first-hand about a losing a dad to heart attack but with your help, we can save others this pain. Sign up for a monthly donation today.

Nicky Byrne | WestlifeMessage from Nicky Byrne, Westlife:  

“We all know someone who has had a heart attack and the symptoms are not always what you think. It does not always have to be a Hollywood heart attack. That’s what happened to my dad. He wasn’t feeling well but like many men, he didn’t want to cause a fuss. He had a pain in his lower stomach the day before he passed and we now know he was having a heart attack. At just 60 years old, he passed away in November 2009. Now I and my family want to spare other families the heartache and loss that we have gone through by raising awareness of the need to call 999 at the first sign of a heart attack. If we can help save one more life through this campaign, it will be worth it.”

Know the symptoms of a heart attack

  • Chest pain
  • Upper body pain in the neck, jaw, back or arms
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Light-headedness
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Weakness
  • Tiredness

Call 999 immediately if you think you are having a heart attack.

What the experts say:

Dr Angie Brown | Medical DirectorDr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation says:  

“It is shocking to think that almost 6 out of 10 people know heart attack symptoms but when it comes to getting help, only half of these will arrive by ambulance. Every minute lost or delayed in getting treatment increases damage to the heart muscle and may even result in death. The good news is that when caught in time, there are good treatments available for heart attack. Survival rates can be improved by as much as 50% if patients access treatment within one hour of symptom onset.”

Robert Morton, Director of the National Ambulance Service says:

“Our Advanced Paramedics cannot dispatch the right help, start life or heart saving treatment, manage your pain and get you safely to the most appropriate medical care if we can’t find you. We can’t find you until you call us. Don’t delay, make sure we’re on the way – dial 999.”

Una Geary, Consultant in Emergency Medicine, St James’s Hospital says:

“We'd prefer to see a patient in the Emergency Department that we can send home because it turns out only to be indigestion, than have one arrive late with a heart attack where the options for treatment are less effective because of time wasted.”

A man’s guide to heart health.

Learn how to reduce the risk of heart attack and PDF download a free copy of ‘A man’s guide to heart health’ .

Heart Attack Booklet


Take positive steps to prevent a heart attack

Be active
Get out and do something that raises your pulse for at least half an hour, five days every week. You don’t have to run ten miles at Olympic pace, a brisk walk or easy jog will do the job, as long as it’s regular.

Eat well
Step away, at least most of the time, from the pizza and chips. Up the intake of fruit and vegetables and try to include some grains, like rice, in your diet. Fish is brilliant. Eat it twice a week – there are really tasty, and easy to prepare, fresh and frozen fish (without batter) available in all supermarkets these days.

Watch the weight
Be aware of your healthy range and try to stay within it.

Cut out the fags
After one year of quitting the risk of sudden death from heart attack is cut almost in half.

Easy on the booze
Try not to binge and keep under 17 standard drinks a week, the recommended maximum amount for men.

Take time for yourself, your family and your friends.

Get to know your GP
Have your GP regularly check your blood pressure and cholesterol. Don’t wait ‘til it’s too late!

Know your family history
Have your parents or close relatives had heart problems?

Heart conditions explained
For more detailed information on heart attack, heart conditions and diagnosis find out more here

Heart & Stroke Helpline I890 432 787.
If you are worried about heart problems or would like lifestyle advice, talk to an Irish Heart Foundation nurse in confidence on our Heart & Stroke Helpline 1890 432 787, Mon-Fri, 10am to 5pm or email info@irishheart.ie