Cleveland Clinic Heart Health Survey – Americans Do Not Know What To Do in Heart Emergency {Interview}

Cleveland Clinic Heart Health Survey – Americans Do Not Know What To Do in Heart Emergency {Interview}

February is American Hearth Health Month and according to the Cleveland Clinic’s 2018 Heart Health Survey, it discovered a strong need for further education for Americans on how to respond to signs of a heart attack. Most (82%) Americans know to call 911 as the first step if they think they are having a heart attack, but only about one-third (36%) know to also chew an aspirin. Not surprising, older generations are more aware of these potentially life-saving first steps, as Boomers (47%) and Gen X (33%) are significantly more likely to know to chew aspirin than Millennials (23%).

About nine-in-ten Americans, mistakenly believe cardiac arrest is another term for a heart attack and only around a quarter (27%) say that there is an automated external defibrillator (AED) at their place of work.

Overall, the survey found that Americans are limited in knowledge when it comes to recognizing symptoms of a heart attack with many confusing stroke and heart attack symptoms while six-in-ten (59%) falsely think sudden numbness or weakness of face, arm or leg are a symptom of a heart attack.

 When a heart attack happens, the best outcomes can depend on getting treatment quickly, and that means being able to recognize the warning signs and what action to take.  Cleveland Clinic came up with an easy way to remember what steps to take if you think you are having a heart attack:

·       Symptoms – Typical symptoms of a heart attack include: sudden chest pain, pressure or shortness of breath

·       Call – Call 911

·       Aspirin – Chew an aspirin

·       Nitroglycerin – Take a nitroglycerin pill if you have one

 And, more importantly, a majority – three-in-five (59%) Americans, know nothing at all or only a little about heart health overall. The survey also uncovered a strong a need for early education, as Millennials are already falling behind older generations in how much they know about heart health. Millennials (49%) compared to Boomers (26%) do not know what to ask their doctors to protect themselves from heart disease. Majority (87%) of Americans expect their doctor to tell them about their heart health.

Recently, I had the opportunity to interview Haitham Ahmed, MD, a physician in the Cardiovascular Department at the Cleveland Clinic as he clarified heart emergency symptoms and misconceptions regarding heart emergencies.

View the entire interview below:

For more information, go to


Dr. Haitham Ahmed is a cardiologist in Cleveland, Ohio and is affiliated with Cleveland Clinic. He received his medical degree from Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth and has been in practice between 6-10 years. He is one of 164 doctors at Cleveland Clinic who specialize in Cardiovascular Disease. He also speaks multiple languages, including Arabic.

This interview is courtesy of Cleveland Clinic.

Cynthia Tait

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