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I have gone on before about how your doctors lack of attempt to educate patients on their health conditions such as diabetes and heart disease has led to poor treatment compliance and often has led to complications or collateral health issues that could have been avoided. It is critical that patients don’t just receive treatment, but become knowledgeable in the health problem and why the treatment is important.

The newest risk factor in heart attacks appears to be a new problem with doctors not wanting to follow guidelines for immediate treatment when a person comes to the hospital with a heart attack.

Reperfusion therapy is either balloon angioplasty or the administration of clot busting drugs to the site of blockage that is causing a heart attack. Current guidelines call for this to be the first line of treatment for patients who arrive at the hospital within 12 hours of the onset of heart attack symptoms. This protocol is apparently being followed only about 80% of the time in patients that arrive less than 3 hours after symptoms start, and less than 50% of the time if they arrive 11-12 hours after symptoms start.

Studies have conclusively shown that reperfusion therapy is critical in limiting damage to the heart.

From a life insurance underwriting viewpoint, the amount of damage to the heart is a critical factor. This is measured by the left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF), the heart’s ability to pump blood efficiently. The longer the therapy is delayed, the greater the damage and the lower the ejection fraction.

Bottom line. Learn the symptoms of a heart attack and don’t spend hours trying to convince yourself it is something else. You may be right, but if you’re wrong, the delay in treatment can be dangerous. Go to the ER!