Heart attacks remain a major cause of death among Turks as four in 10 people in Turkey die of heart attack, according to a statement from the Istanbul Public Health Directorate marking April 7 as World Heart Health Day. The symptoms of heart attack are generally seen between three and four hours before a heart attack occurs.
The statement says that the first two hours after a heart attack are crucial to ensuring proper treatment. Based on World Health Organization (WHO) data, 57 million people died worldwide in 2008, and 63 percent of these deaths were related to chronic diseases. "The data shows that every two in three people die of non-infectious diseases, and among this category one in three people - 17.3 million - died of cardiovascular diseases," reads the statement. A heart attack happens when the flow of oxygen-rich blood to a section of heart muscle becomes blocked and the heart cannot get oxygen. If blood flow isn't restored quickly, the section of heart muscle begins to die.
Typical heart attack symptoms include chest discomfort or pain, upper body pain, shortness of breath, anxiety, sweating, nausea and vomiting. Most heart attacks begin with subtle symptoms and chest discomfort may come and go. This discomfort can feel like a tight ache, pressure, fullness or squeezing in the chest lasting more than a few minutes. The statement adds: "In a heart attack situation, every single second has great importance. To save a patient's life, treatment must begin as fast as possible. Coronary heart diseases influence behavioral risk factors for about 80 percent, and these risk factors include lack of physical activity, smoking and excessive drinking."