Campaign – Make The Right Call – call 111 for heart attack warning signs

The symptoms of a heart attack for women can also be different to men with women presenting with more sweating, dizziness and nausea than men.

The Heart Foundation is urging New Zealanders to recognise the warning signs of a possible heart attack and call 111 to save lives and prevent long term heart damage.

“If someone is short of breath, feeling off colour, fatigued and has a sore arm, chest or upper back, they may shrug it off or try to push through it. The warning signs are sometimes subtle,” Heart Foundation Medical Director Dr Gerry Devlin says.

The Heart Foundation has launched a new public awareness campaign which highlights the warning signs of a heart attack and address the ‘She’ll be right’ approach that New Zealanders are renowned for when it comes to their health.

“We don’t want to make a fuss, or we’re too busy looking after others than looking after ourselves are attitudes we hear often,” Devlin says.

“One busy mum was unknowingly having a heart attack, however she was in the middle of the ‘school run’ so she pushed through it.”

Devlin says heart attacks can happen to anyone at any time of their life.

The symptoms of a heart attack for women can also be different to men with women presenting with more sweating, dizziness and nausea than men.

He says acting quickly and making the right call – calling 111 – will help save lives and prevent further heart damage.

The Heart Foundation’s previous heart attack awareness television campaign first aired in 2015. Viewers were asked to decide who was giving the best rendition of a heart attack. The answer (the man on the bench in the background of the ad) surprised many viewers.

The campaign built strong awareness and delivered a powerful message around the real symptoms of a heart attack, which may not be as dramatic as people think.

The Heart Foundation hopes the messages in the new television advertisements will help save more lives and improve the outcomes for New Zealanders experiencing a heart attack.

For further information go to www.heartfoundation.org.nz

The facts – heart attack warning signs:

  • Warning signs of a heart attack usually include chest discomfort, pain that spreads to the jaw, shoulders or back, excessive sweating, shortness of breath, and nausea.
  • An international study in 2020 reported the top symptoms experienced by both men and women were pain in the chest, jaw, neck, arm or back. However, women presented with less chest pain and more sweating, dizziness and nausea than men.
  • Heart disease is New Zealand’s single biggest killer, claiming the lives of more than 6700 New Zealanders every year – that’s one person every 90 minutes.
  • The Heart Foundation is New Zealand’s heart charity that is leading the fight against heart disease.


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