In Ireland an estimated 80,000 adults are diagnosed

annually with coronary heart disease. This figure is

expected to grow to more than 103,000 by 2020.

In 2011, 5,563 people were discharged from hospital

with a primary diagnosis of myocardial infarction (heart

attack) while 2,157 people died from this condition in

the same year.


Here are some important Heart Attack Facts that

you should know!


  • A Heart Attack occurs when the normal blood flow to the hear is interrupted and it is deprived of oxygen, causing damage to the heart tissue or arteries
  • Signs of a Heart Attack
    • Shortness of Breath
    • Back Pain
    • Shoulder Pain
    • Arm or jaw Pain
    • Chest Pain
  • The quicker treatment begins, the greater the chances of surviving a heart attack


Be Aware of the Symptoms


Ten to fifteen per cent of people who have a heart

attack may not feel anything. This is more common in

older people, especially women and those with

diabetes. Sometimes these people just feel weak, tired

or short of breath. Some elderly patients may simply

become confused.

The most common heart attack symptoms are:

  • Chest pain that won’t go away
  • Feeling of fullness, squeezing, tightness orchest”)
  • pressure (“Like an elephant sitting on your
  • Pain may spread to the arms, particularlyweak
  • the left arm and the arms can feel heavy or
  • Pain can also spread to neck, jaw, back or
  • shoulders

There are also many associated heart attack

symptoms that you should be aware of. These are:


  • Shortness of breath with or without chest pain
  • Nausea/Indigestion/Heart burn
  • Cold sweat
  • Fatigue
  • Choking feeling in your throat
  • Light headedness or dizziness
  • Looking pale

Risk Factors

There are a number of unavoidable risk factors that

increase one’s likelihood of having a heart attack.

These are as follows:

  • Medical History – If you have had a previous heart


  • Age – Males over 40 years and women over 50

years carry a higher risk of heart attack. While

males have higher risk until the age of 70, after

70 years of age the risk is equal for both genders

  • Genetics – If you have a family history of

coronary heart disease

  • Current medical conditions (e.g. diabetes

and kidney disease )

There are many other factors which may increase your

risk of having a heart attack; however, these are

deemed to be avoidable risk factors. These are as



  • Smoking
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Obesity
  • Poor diet
  • Excess alcohol consumption
  • Stress
  • Physical inactivity

7 Steps to a Healthier Heart

  • Live smoke-free . If you smoke, quit.
  • Monitor your blood pressure. Keep your numbers below 120/80mm Hg.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Target a body mass index of (BMI) of less than 25.
  • Watch your cholesterol – strive for a cholesterol less than 200mg/dL.
  • Control your blood sugar – Aim for fasting blood glucose less than 100 mg/dL
  • Get active. Log 150 minutes of moderate intensity activity – like brisk walking – per week (or 75 minutes of vigorous – intensity activity).
  • Eat a heart – healthy diet. Make vegetables and fruits whole grains, and fish mealtime staples. Limit sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar.

The following steps should be followed in order to

maintain a healthier heart and help to reduce the risk

of heart attack.

When to get checked?

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms outlined in

this leaflet it is critical that you seek medical advice.

It is also important to get checked if you have a significant

family history of premature Heart Disease <65 years of

age. If you are a male ≥ 40 or female ≥ 50 years of age

you should have the following checked annually:

  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol
  • Weight
  • Blood sugar

To learn more about the risk factors and how to reduce

your risk of a heart attack, please visit

Cardiology Services at Aut Even Hospital.

Telephone: 056 7725275